We let the numbers speak for themselves.
1 out of 5
women will experience a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder during pregnancy or after childbirth. Also called perinatal emotional complications, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders include conditions like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and can occur any time during pregnancy and the first year of parenting. Emotional complications are the most common complication of childbirth.
38% of new mothers of color
experience perinatal emotional complications like depression and anxiety. Women of color experience these complications at TWICE the rate of white women.
60% of women of color
do not receive any treatment or support services for perinatal emotional complications. Reasons for this include lack of insurance coverage, social and cultural stigma, logistical barriers to services, and lack of culturally appropriate care.
We are now a division of Postpartum Support International (PSI)
PMHA-WOC: A Program Within PSI
PMHA-WOC was created to fill a gap in support services for professionals and communities of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and we are thrilled to have our work supported by an organization that has been a leader in our field. Our mission and vision to support professionals and families of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders align with PSI's vision that all families will have access to the information, support, and care that they need around these complications. Our becoming a part of PSI embodies our shared commitments to collaboration, advocacy, and building stronger support systems for both families and professionals.
For years, PSI has taken active steps towards increasing diversity within their organization and outreach to underserved communities; bringing PMHA-WOC on as a part of the agency further demonstrates PSI's commitment to bringing anti-oppression to the center of their work.
Building Our Capacity and Diversifying From Within
To continue to broaden PSI's ability to reach diverse and disenfranchised communities, we will aim to have a PSI coordinator of color in every state, or in as many states as possible. The process of adding to the coordinator base may take time, but we believe that visibility and representation are important, and we are committed to diversifying PSI from within in order to better represent and connect with different communities. We hope that this process will enable more families in more communities to receive support around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Our intention is to increase access to support services and care, and we believe that diversifying from within is an active step towards that goal.
We will also continue to build our database of clinicians of color who have experience with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and we will draw upon the existing infrastructure within PSI to assist with this task.
To provide a safe space for clients, families, and professionals of color around perinatal mental health. Every woman of color will be heard and supported around perinatal emotional wellness.
Rising Together Scholarship
Through Partnerships and Fundraising
As part of PSI, PMHA-WOC will work with other PSI leaders to plan Climb Out of the Darkness events with a focus on bridging gaps in resources and and bringing awareness to underserved and under represented communities. In the future, we hope to proceed with the Phoenix Walks, which will raise awareness about perinatal emotional complications in communities of color and raise funds for Rising Together, a fund that will benefit organizations and individuals working with women of color around perinatal mental health. We believe that joining together as communities of women of color is a critical step in advancing our capacity to better serve women in our local areas who are in need of perinatal mental health services and resources. If you are interested in submitting a grant application for Rising Together funds, we will provide more information on the application process in the near future. Rising Together funds will be granted to organizations that serve women of color around perinatal mental health, as well as professionals of color who want to increase their capacity and skills around providing perinatal mental health support.
Resources near you
Critical to the work of the PMHA-WOC is providing culturally appropriate referrals and resources for folks of color experiencing perinatal emotional complications. In conjunction with the Maternal Mental Health in Color Coalition, we have put together a resource list of professionals of color who provide perinatal mental health services. To be added to our list, please click here. To join our mailing list please go to the 'sign up' tab.
We are currently building a database of resources and will update this website as soon as possible!
Meet Our Founders
In February of 2017, three perinatal professionals came together to create an organization for women of color run by women of color to provide support, advocacy, information, and resources around perinatal mental health. We saw a need for a resource built and held by communities of color, and we created the PMHA-WOC to support women, families, and professionals.
click on our names to learn more about our individual work
ScM, CPD, CLC
Divya is a South Asian American woman who holds a Masters in Public Health and is a certified lactation counselor. Her work connects postpartum support with public health by addressing unmet needs in the structure and delivery of perinatal support services. In 2013, she helped create a postpartum depression prevention pilot program in four community health centers in Massachusetts and currently provides comprehensive perinatal support at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center. She is a Commissioner on the Ellen Story Commission on Postpartum Depression and also co-founded the Every Mother Project, an organization that provides training and support for women’s health professionals around addressing perinatal emotional complications. A writer and a truth-teller, Divya brings a fresh voice, compassion, and humor to her work with new families. She lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with her husband and two children.
She makes breastfeeding a habit and a hobby. Jabina, a mother of two, Licensed Social Worker and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant has dedicated more than a decade of her life to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. Jabina focuses a lot of her work on educating women, families and the community to make informed decision about breastfeeding. She empowers women to trust their bodies throughout the perinatal period and provides guidance during the process. She specializes in perinatal mood disorders and helping women and families adjust to motherhood and parenting. Jabina lives in the Philadelphia, PA area.
Through her own journey into motherhood, Desirée knows just how far compassion can go. With a foundation of authenticity, integrity and fully understanding the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Desirée works each day to assist women in their own journeys and understanding through motherhood, postpartum support and healing. As a licensed social worker, Usui Reiki II practitioner and perinatal psychotherapist in Baltimore, MD, and the owner of her private practice, Motherland Community, Desirée assists women decipher the funk of motherhood through integrative and eclectic therapeutic modalities. When she's not tending to her two sons, Desiree is a volunteer for Postpartum Support International and board member for 2020 Mom Project.
Academic research & other resources