Mental health matters for moms

May 30, 2022

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health, people from racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to get treatment for mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression. So what’s causing this difference? Many factors come in to play:

  • Social determinants of health. These are conditions in which you’re born, grow, work, live and age that can affect your community, education, income and your relationships with your partner, family and friends.
  • Less access to services. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services than other groups and are more likely to receive lower quality care.
  • Cultural factors. Certain cultural beliefs and traditions may play a role in the decision to ask for help.

Mental health awareness is especially important for all women during and after pregnancy. In the United States, it’s estimated that 1 out of every 5 women will experience a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. Among those who show symptoms of a mental health condition (such as depression and anxiety), about 75 percent don’t receive treatment. When it comes to postpartum depression (PPD), women of color are disproportionately affected—more than 50 percent of PPD cases go unreported among this group.   

What you need to know:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of depression and postpartum depression.
  • If you think you have depression or PPD, tell your health care provider.
  • If you’ve had depression before, you’re more likely than other women to have depression during pregnancy.
  • If you’re pregnant and taking an antidepressant, tell your provider right away. Don’t stop taking it without talking to your provider first.

Here are some helpful resources:

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness, 800-950-NAMI (6264)

National Institute of Mental Health