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The topic of postpartum support used to be something that was not spoken of in ‘polite company’, but in recent decades, the conversation – and subsequent action – has been promising.

In 2005, Brooke Shields released her book Down Came the Rain, which told her story with postpartum depression (PPD) and opened up a better path toward helping the approximately 15% of women who experience it.

History of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

This event was first organized by the Policy Center’s National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health in the US.

The initial celebration took place in 2014, and it has grown in popularity each year since then. In 2024, the United States Congress recognized Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week in the US.

Starting in 2017, a parallel event began taking place in the UK. It is typically scheduled for the last week of April and organized by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK).

Just preceding the observance of Mother’s Day in the United States, Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week acts as an extra reminder that this is an important time to check in on post-natal friends, family members, and others who might need it.

Each year, the organizers of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week supply a theme to help create a focus around an important aspect of the event. Some of the recent themes have included:

  • Rediscovering You (2024)
  • Together in a Changing World (2023)
  • Journeys to Recovery (2021)
  • Motherhood is Not Black and White (2020)

How to Observe Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

Encourage a Postpartum Mom

Sometimes, it just takes a small effort to give a postpartum mom a bit of life, like cooking a meal, dropping off groceries, or holding the baby for a little while so she can take a shower.

But other times, she might need more – like encouraging her to see her doctor if her symptoms of postpartum depression are severe or last longer than two weeks.

Learn About Helping Improve Maternal Mental Health

One of the best ways to celebrate Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is to become more knowledgeable about supporting a mom who has recently had a baby.

Friends, family members, partners, colleagues, neighbors, and anyone in the community can learn about the signs of a woman who is having difficulty after her baby is born and what to do.

This will help them be ready and understand if a woman they know might be at risk.

Share Information about Maternal Mental Health

Raising awareness and showing compassion are vital parts of this event. In honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, consider learning, sharing, and starting a conversation with some of these related facts:

  • 1 in 5 women will experience mental health problems after birthing a child
  • 70% of postpartum women will try to hide or minimize their issues
  • The leading cause of maternal death in the first year after giving birth is suicide
  • Black women are twice as likely as white women to struggle with maternal mental health

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