A group of mothers with small children smiling into the camera

Amplifying Maternal Voices

The Amplifying Maternal Voices (AMV) project aims to improve mothers’ and families’ access to support for their mental health, and is a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

The two-year AMV project will spotlight the maternal mental health experiences of mothers from seldom heard communities across the UK, including young mums, single mums, and those from culturally diverse backgrounds. In pursuit of accessible care for all women, babies, and families, we will host a conference and learning event to break down barriers and produce an Engagement Toolkit to inspire action and change at a local level.

Why this support is desperately needed

Around 1 in 5 women experience a perinatal mental health problem during pregnancy or within the early postnatal years. While women of any age, race, relationship status, or socioeconomic background can be affected, these characteristics can disproportionately impact a woman’s risk of becoming unwell.

For example, research has shown single parents to be at a higher risk of developing mental health problems (Griffin, 2010) and single mothers have roughly three times the prevalence of depressive episodes compared with other groups (Tragosz et al., 2003).A photograph of a young Black mother holding her small baby and looking at the camera

Although an under-researched area, data suggests that postnatal depression and anxiety are 13% higher in Black and brown mothers than in white mothers (Watson et al., 2019). The Black Maternity Experiences Report (Five X More, 2022) revealed that, overall, midwives were likely to discuss physical health status, safeguarding and social risk factors with Black mothers. However, there was a lack of information, advice and support given around mental health, rights, choices and social support.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in 2021 a record 93,494 women were referred to perinatal mental health services in England alone, with the highest referral rates for younger women.

All women, babies, and families have a right to high-quality, comprehensive perinatal mental health care. The human and economic consequences of failing to provide this support are significant, meaning it is vital that such disparities in maternal experiences and outcomes are addressed.


More information and how to contact us about the project

For more information or to get involved in the project, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

If you would like to find out more about the Engagement Toolkit, please email Sian Drinkwater, Membership and Local Voices Officer, at sian@maternalmentalhealthalliance.org.

Read the AMV project press release