Mental health conditions are the MOST COMMON complications of pregnancy and childbirth,
affecting approximately 1 in 5 women or childbearing people during pregnancy or the first year after being pregnant.
While these illnesses are often undiagnosed, they are usually temporary and treatable.
The list at right is not meant to be all-inclusive but rather a starting place for finding resources for women and families affected by maternal mental health (MMH) conditions.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world’s leading organization in advocating and educating about maternal mental health issues and providing support to women and families affected by these illnesses.
Support to women and families includes:
- Toll-free telephone number (1-800-944-4773) to get basic information, support, and resources.
- Free weekly call-in and online support sessions.
- Coordinators and/or chapters in all 50 states to provide connections to local resources.
- Peer mentor program, which pairs moms (and dads) in need of support with a trained volunteer who has experienced and fully recovered from a maternal mental health disorder.
- Specialized resources for fathers, military mothers, women experiencing psychosis, and women who are incarcerated.
- Provider directory of mental health professionals with advanced training in maternal mental health.
- Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color, building build capacity among perinatal professionals to better support individuals, families, and communities of color.
- Climb Out of the Darkness awareness and fundraising event.
- Learning events, including annual conference, webinars, intensive training programs, and certification program.
U.S. Perinatal Inpatient Psychiatry Programs
Arkansas: Little Rock, AK
Women’s Inpatient Unit
California: Mountain View, CA (near San Jose)
El Camino Health Women’s Specialty Unit
North Carolina: Chapel Hill, NC
UNC Perinatal Psych Inpatient Unit
New York: Glen Oaks, NY
Northwell Health Perinatal Psychiatry Service
Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Perinatal Psychiatry Programs
- Los Angeles: UCLA CA Resnick/Maternal Mental Health Program
- Mountain View: El Camino Hospital Maternal Outreach Mood Services (MOMS)
- Newport Beach: Hoag Hospital Maternal Mental Health Clinic
- Pasadena: Huntington Memorial Hospital Maternal Wellness Program
- San Diego: UC San Diego Maternal Mental Health Program
- Grand Rapids: Pine Rest Mother and Baby Program
- Brooklyn Park: PrairieCare Perinatal Mental Health Clinic
- Eden Prairie: Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. Mother Baby Intensive Outpatient Program
- Minneapolis: Hennepin Mother-Baby Day Hospital
- New York City: The Motherhood Center of New York
- Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties: Perinatal Psychiatry Services at The Zucker Hillside Hospital and South Oaks Hospital
- Philadelphia: Drexel University Mother Baby Connections Intensive Outpatient Program
- Pittsburgh: Aleixis Joy D’Achille Center for Women’s Behavioral Health (West Penn Hospital, Allegheny Health Network)
- Providence: Brown University / Women & Infants Hospital
- Provo and Riverton: Serenity Recovery and Wellnes
- Salt Lake City: St. Marks Outpatient Perinatal Program
- Salt Lake City: Huntsman Mental Health Institute / University of Utah
- South Jordan: Reach Counseling
Resources and Organizations Focused on the maternal health and mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
This list is not meant to be all-inclusive but rather serves as a starting point for finding resources and information.
Akoma Counseling Concepts: A DC-based female minority owned mental health counseling and consultation practice that specializes in women’s mental health and perinatal mental health counseling.
Ancient Song Doula Services: Tackling issues affecting communities of color through community, advocacy, reproductive/birth justice, and education.
Birth Center Equity Fund: The Birth Center Equity Fund focuses on making birth center care an option for every person who wants it, by growing and sustaining birth centers led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. 100% of funds raised go to BIPOC birth centers.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance: An advocacy organization focused on improving the health and well-being of black women through research, policy, and cultural shifts.
Black Mental Wellness: A corporation of clinical psychologists who recognize the need for culturally competent professionals to collaborate and address mental health issues that are prevalent and unique to the experiences of Black people.
Black Women’s Health Imperative: The first nonprofit organization created by Black women to help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls.
The Bloom Collective: A Baltimore-based center for birth education, lactation, and perinatal support.
Common Sense Childbirth: Founded by midwife Jennie Josphe, the mission of this organization is to inspire change in maternal child health care systems worldwide and to re-empower the birthing mother, father, family and community by supporting the providers, practitioners and agencies that are charged with their care.
Diversity Uplifts: A consulting and training nonprofit organization determined to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities by supporting diverse populations and increasing cultural competence and humility among providers who serve them.
The Loveland Foundation: This fund provides grants to Black women and girls to obtain high-quality mental health care.
Mamatoto Village: A not-for-profit organization committed to furthering the careers of Women of Color and providing perinatal support services to all, including home visiting, doula, childbirth education, and lactation support.
Midwives for Black Lives: This BIPOC midwife collaborative movement was created to improve birth outcomes for Black families through scholarships for Black student midwives.
MomCongress Black Learn, Listen, and Lift Toolkit: This toolkit includes listings of books, films, podcasts, organizations and more designed to help non-Black individuals understand how deeply racism runs in our country and to ensure Black women and Black America are heard, treated equally, and are respected for all that has been endured.
National Association to Advance Black Birth: Working to promote midwives, doulas, and training programs to improve the care of Black women, persons, and infants.
National Black Midwives Alliance: A member-supported organization focused on raising awareness about black midwives and eliminating disparities in U.S. perinatal health.
National Birth Equity Collaborative: Focused on creating solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research, and community-centered collaboration.
Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color: A program within Postpartum Support International geared towards building capacity in the perinatal mental health field to better support families and providers of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Shades of Blue Project: A Texas-based nonprofit whose mission is to break cultural barriers in maternal mental health.
Shades of You, Shades of Me: The only conference in the United States focused exclusively on multicultural maternal mental health.
SisterSong: A reproductive justice organization focused on improving the lives of women of color through community organizing and advocacy to catalyze systemic change.
Therapy for Black Girls: Dedicated to decreasing stigma and increasing access to culturally competent mental health care for black people.
Planning for life with an infant can help ease the transition to having a newborn in the home.
Here are a few good planning tools:
The path to recovery from experiencing a maternal mental health condition has been clearly established via clinical and community-based research and includes low-cost options such as self-care and social support, along with more costly interventions including psychotherapy and medication.
SELF-CARE. Improved self-care — name a combination of sufficient sleep, adequate nutrition, light exercise, and time off from caring for the baby — can positively impact a new parent’s mood.
PEER SUPPORTERS and GROUPS can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness while increasing feelings of well-being and self-esteem. Tangible social support, such as cooking meals, running errands, or providing childcare, can also help ease the stress of life with a new baby.
PSYCHOTHERAPY can play an important role in maternal mental health care, with several short-term, pragmatic, evidence-based approaches proven to be particularly effective, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and inter-personal therapy.
MEDICATION. Copious case study and registry data demonstrate that many psychotropic medications are both safe and effective in the perinatal period.
Here are some checklists and activity lists to start on the path to recovery:
- Depression Self-Care Action Plan (American Academy of Family Physicians)
Sometimes it is hard to put feelings into words. The checklists below can help new parents identify how they are feeling.
- Mental Health Checklists for Expecting and New Parents (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia)
- New Mom Mental Health Checklist (Postpartum Progress)
- Perinatal Mental Health Discussion Tool (Postpartum Support International)