Black Maternal Mental Health


Volume/Issue :
Volume 38
Issue 1
(04 - 2024)

Author(s) :

Cindy L. Herrick, MA, PMH-C, CPSS, Joy Burkhard, MBA.

Abstract :

Maternal mental health disorders, particularly prevalent in the perinatal and postpartum periods, pose a significant challenge for women, with Black women facing heightened risks due to a complex interplay of societal, systemic, and environmental factors. This paper explores the elevated rates of maternal mental health disorders among Black women, emphasizing the impact of chronic stress from racism, higher levels of lifetime trauma exposure, and discrimination in the maternity care system. We discuss the barriers Black women encounter in accessing mental health care, emphasizing the importance of addressing these challenges on individual, organizational, sociocultural, and structural levels. The paper concludes with policy recommendations aimed at increasing the number of Black and BIPOC mental health professionals, supporting community health workers, and promoting shared decision-making by patients in their treatment and care. The insights provided aim to guide policymakers, healthcare providers, and community stakeholders in developing holistic, equitable approaches to maternal mental health care for Black women.