Mental Health Leaders and Celebrities Gather to Advocate for Black Maternal Mental Health

Across the country from July 19-25, mental health leaders, government officials, and non-profit organizations are gathering virtually and in-person for the Shades of Blue Project’s Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week with one common mission: to uplift and empower more black birthing people with the mental health resources they need to thrive. Hosted annually by the non-profit organization The Shades of Blue Project, this year’s #BMMHW2021 is dedicated to promoting health equity for more black birthing people across their birth experience so they can reclaim their joy and reinstate their peace of mind.

These conversations couldn’t be more important as 2020 was a year of reckoning for birthing people due to the disproportionate mental health impact of COVID-19. It exposed existing racial disparities and inequalities in a system that continues to lack acknowledgement, respect, and support for their everyday lives.

•    Rates of PPD in new & expectant moms have doubled during COVID, with black moms at 2-3x higher risk but are nearly 2X less likely to receive mental health treatment.
•    From dismissed medical needs to birthing complications, black women are more likely to experience traumatic births and the mental health consequences that follow.
•    Cultural barriers and a lack of representation in the mental health field continue to limit black women from seeking help – according to American Psychological Association, only 5.3% of the psychology professionals are black. Of the estimated 41,000 psychiatrists in the U.S., only 2% are black according to the American Psychiatric Association – despite making up 13% of the U.S. population. 

Their year’s week-long series of events includes participation from organizations such as the White House Maternal Health Council and ACOG, as well as celebrity allies including actress Cherie Johnson and famed hip-hop DJ & producer Spinderella. 

Highlights of the week’s festivities include t the Grand Opening of The Shades of Blue Project’s Maternal and Mental Health Resource Center in Houston, The State of Black Maternal Mental Health Roundtable, the INSPIRE Community Brunch, and the INSPIRE Postpartum Depression Awareness Walk.

With July being Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the focus on birthing people underscores a population of birthing people who continue to be underdiagnosed, underserved, and misrepresented.

“Black Maternal Mental Health Week was created to help push awareness during Minority Mental Awareness Month and enact action around Black maternal mental health complications affecting Black birthing people during and after childbirth,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of The Shades of Blue Project. “This year’s campaign is issuing a Call-to-Action to commit to incorporating black maternal mental health in all areas of maternal health practices, thus changing the current way maternal mental health goes untreated among black birthing people. The time is now to make shift happen.”

For more information on how you can help amplify the movement, head to www.shadesofblueproject.org

#BMMHW2021 #WeDeserveMore #EncouragingBlackJoy #MakeShiftHappenTogether

Contact: kaym@shadesofblueproject.org

Source: Shades of Blue Project