More needs to be done in Cumbria to support black mums with their mental health – say two local non-profit groups.
The Happy Mums Foundation and Anti Racist Cumbria are joining forces to promote Black Maternal Mental Health Week this week.
The campaign was set up by the UK-wide Motherhood Group to highlight the challenges faced by black women around becoming mums and getting help for mental illness. The Motherhood Group says “postnatal depression and anxiety in black mothers is significantly higher than in white mothers. Black women are the least likely to initiate treatment for postnatal mental illness, and the least likely to receive follow-up treatment”.
It has been backed by two Cumbrian organisations: The Happy Mums Foundation – a social enterprise that supports mums and pregnant women with mental health problems and Anti Racist Cumbria – a voluntary group that works to identify, challenge, tackle and end racism in Cumbria.
The Happy Mums Foundation’s chief executive Katherine Dalgliesh said: “We know there are massive inequalities in the way black women’s mental health is identified and treated compared to white women, and we want to send a strong statement that Happy Mums is for all mums in Cumbria who are struggling.
“We are working hard to reach out to black women in our community and to be a good ally in the fight against racism. We want to promote discussion and debate about the factors which create this disparity and so are supporting Black Maternal Mental Health Week 2021.”
Janett Walker from Anti-Racist Cumbria said: “Motherhood is never easy no matter what, as well as being a parent it’s a time when women are at their most vulnerable physically and mentally. It’s sad but not surprising to read that black women are less likely to receive the support they need and yet are nearly seven times more likely to be sectioned if/when they do find their way ‘into the system’, which is also an extremely worrying sign.
“Naturally there will be many factors at play and we welcome groups such as the Happy Mums Foundation being vocal about these issues, encouraging debate and discussion and being intentional in recognising that not all mothers experience mental health issues surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood in the same way. Anti Racist Cumbria also urge medical professions both in and outside of our county to listen to black women’s experiences and to also be intentional in their response.”