National–Black moms are at higher risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders than White moms, but are less likely to receive mental health treatment. To call attention to these and other shameful disparities, Black Maternal Mental Health Week will be held July 19 through July 25.
The weeklong event, hosted by the Shades of Blue project and supported by MomsRising, includes an in-person training session, a two-day summit, a community awards brunch, and a walk and family fun day. It will end with a State of Black Maternal Mental Health Roundtable discussion.
Structural racism, financial and cultural barriers, and a lack of representation in the mental health field limit Black women from seeking mental health care. Black women are more likely to experience traumatic births and the mental health consequences that follow, and high rates of postpartum suicide and overdose deaths contribute to the maternal mortality crisis.
Moms, caregivers, organizational leaders and advocates support H.Res.1226, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester [D-DE-At Large]. This Congressional Resolution designates July 19 through July 25, 2022, as Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. The Resolution is designed to:
- Raise public awareness and understanding around maternal mental health conditions and their disproportionate impact on Black birthing people and families.
- Recognize the need for culturally congruent treatment for maternal mental health conditions.
- Push for further research on maternal mental health treatment models that reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
- Encourage federal, state, and local governments and individuals across the country to support Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.
“Addressing Black maternal mental health is mandatory, not optional,” said Kay Matthews, Founder of the Shades of Blue Project.
“It is essential that we shine a light on the mental health challenges Black moms face and fight for change,” said Tina Sherman, Senior Campaign Director for Maternal Justice at MomsRising. “Our country urgently needs programs and policies that will improve Black moms’ mental health and address these shameful disparities.”