When Is Maternal Mental Health Month and How To Participate

Picture of Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP

Learn More

Understanding and Supporting Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

Motherhood is a beautifully rewarding journey, filled with love, growth, and challenges  that often transcend understanding. To honor and support the emotional well-being of mothers, Maternal Mental Health Week (MMHW) is a pivotal campaign devoted to raising awareness of maternal health concerns, advocating for increased education and support, and reducing stigma surrounding mental health struggles. Here’s your comprehensive guide to Maternal Mental Health Week and how you can partake in this crucial global movement.

When is Maternal Mental Health Week 2024 and How to Participate

MMHW 2024 is May 5 -11, during which numerous community events, educational seminars, and social media campaigns are held to engage individuals, providers, and communities across the globe. The focus is not only to support mothers who might be battling mental health issues but also to create an environment that fosters open communication for all maternal figures, including mothers, fathers, and caregivers. It’s about acknowledging that maternal mental health isn’t just the responsibility of the mother, but a collective duty to ensure the foundational mental wellness of children and families.

History of Maternal Mental Health Awareness

The maternal mental health awareness initiative began as an annual weeklong campaign in 2014 and has since evolved into a global movement that advocates for improved mental health care for mothers and their families. The initiative stemmed from the recognition that postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are prevalent and significantly impact the health of mothers and their children.

Maternal Mental Health Stats

The statistics surrounding maternal mental health are both startling and sobering. Research shows:

  • One in five women experience a maternal mental health issue during pregnancy or in the year following birth.
  • Perinatal mental health conditions are the #1 complication of childbearing
  • Only 25% of those impacted are identified and receive treatment
  • One in ten fathers experience depression or anxiety after the birth of a child
  • Up to 85% of individuals experience the “baby blues” after giving birth, tied to hormonal changes
  • Up to 100% of individuals (and their partners) have intrusive thoughts surrounding childbirth and the postpartum period

These numbers underscore the importance of this week and its role in highlighting the need for dialogue and action.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week Themes

Each day of Maternal Mental Health Week is dedicated to different aspects of the maternal mental health experience. Themes are often structured around the experiences and emotional needs of the mother during pregnancy and postpartum, with an emphasis on support and resources.  This year’s theme, sponsored by The BlueDot Project, is storytelling.  Share your story so others feels less alone and to provide a sense of hope. Download our social media templates to help spread awareness.

Share Your Story (May 5, 2024)

Opening up about your maternal mental health experience can be incredibly healing. It not only provides a sense of relief but also connects you with others who have walked a similar path, fostering a community of support and understanding.

Raise Your Hand If You're 1 in 5 (May 6th)

Acknowledging that you’re one of the many who face maternal mental health challenges is a brave and powerful step. This acknowledgment helps break down the stigma and shows others they’re not alone in their struggles.

Wear Blue (May 7th)

Wearing blue symbolizes solidarity with mothers experiencing postpartum depression and other maternal mental health issues. It’s a visual reminder that mothers are supported, loved, and not alone.
women drinking coffee in the morning should have water first

Find a Moment to Celebrate You (May 8th)

Take time today to honor your strength and resilience as a mother. Whether it’s a quiet cup of tea or a moment of reflection, recognize the incredible journey you’re on and the amazing work you do every day.  

Tag 5 Moms That Could Use a Little Love (May 9th)

Reach out and show some love to moms who might be feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated. A simple message of encouragement can brighten their day and remind them of their worth and importance.  Be sure to follow along on our social media (@thematrescence) for messages of encouragement to share.

What do you wish someone told you postpartum? (May 10th)

Sharing pieces of wisdom or advice that you wish had been shared with you can provide comfort and guidance to new moms navigating the postpartum period. It’s a way to pass forward kindness and knowledge.

Continue Spreading Awareness (May 11th)

Even as Maternal Mental Health Week comes to a close, our efforts to raise awareness and support each other shouldn’t stop. Keep the conversation going, advocate for maternal mental health services, and check in (and check again!) on the new mothers in your life regularly.

World Maternal Mental Health Day Activities

May 1, 2024 (the first Wednesday in May) is World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day!  Various activities are organized during MMHW to engage and support mothers, from support groups (through Postpartum Support International) and workshops to social media campaigns and fundraising events. A significant emphasis is placed on creating safe spaces for mothers to share their experiences and to find comfort in solidarity.

Engaging in these activities not only contributes to the emotional well-being of individual mothers but also fosters a culture of support within local communities and beyond. Additionally, organizational partnerships during MMHW can significantly broaden the reach and impact of the activities, providing multifaceted support to mothers in need.  Looking to get involved?  Send us an email or fill out the contact form in the footer of this webpage.

mom practicing self care through meditating

How to Get Involved Online

For those who can’t participate in local events, there are several online opportunities to get involved. Social media plays a crucial role in amplifying the voices of mothers and their supporters. Hashtags, shareable templates, and storytelling are just a few ways you can use your online presence to uplift the conversation around maternal mental health.

Online platforms also serve as a hub for resources, including helplines, webinars, and educational content that can benefit mothers globally. Joining online communities dedicated to maternal health provides a continuous source of support, not just during MMHW, but year-round.

Looking Ahead to 2025

In the lead-up to 2025, a significant milestone for the MMHW campaign, organizers and supporters are focusing on critical goals that include improving screening and assessment processes for perinatal mental health disorders, enhancing access to maternal mental health services, and comprehensive action plans for global governments to prioritize maternal mental health within their healthcare frameworks. Looking ahead, the aim is to ensure MMHW is not merely a week of reflection and action, but a catalyst for sustained change in the way we approach maternal mental health worldwide.

Prioritizing Your Mental Health All Year

While MMHW is instrumental in sparking conversations and action, the goal is to promote year-round awareness of maternal mental health education and support systems.  Mental health should be a priority all year, and mothers must be encouraged to make self-care a part of their daily routine. This includes seeking professional help from a credential health care provider when needed, engaging in supportive group settings, building their emotional resilience through mindfulness activities, and educating themselves about the range of emotions experienced during the motherhood journey. The path to full maternal mental health may be winding, but it is navigable with the right support and a collective commitment to sustaining well-being. It’s the responsibility of society at large to stand by mothers not just during this special week, but throughout their life-altering motherhood experience, with care, understanding, and the assurance that they are not alone. After all, when we support the mental health of mothers, we aren’t just improving the individual’s well-being; we’re nurturing the very foundation of society for generations to come.

Related Posts

Picture of Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren was a licensed and trained registered nurse in the NICU and has since made a career shift to focus on mental health. Lauren is now a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, focusing on women’s health and wellness. She is a mom of three precious little men who has turned her pain into passion.

mother with eyes closed pressing her face up against her infant to calm her anxious feelings

Free Download

Anxious, Mama?

Mama, You’ve Got This: Learn How to Distinguish Everyday Mom Worries from Clinical Anxiety – Straight from a Mental Health Expert!