Mental health during the perinatal period (pregnancy and the year postpartum) is a serious global concern. Women are more likely to develop anxiety or depression during the perinatal period than at any other point in their lives and suicide is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the first year postpartum. Stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have further exacerbated this perinatal mental health crisis. Nevertheless, the need for psychosocial and mental health care for women in the perinatal period is often overlooked, especially in low- and middle-income countries and other under-resourced settings.
Please join the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for a dialogue on perinatal mental health with panelists reflecting on these issues from their own backgrounds as healthcare providers, advocates, researchers, policy makers, and from their lived experience. Panelists will discuss the global magnitude and impact of perinatal mental health disorders on mothers, babies, families, and communities; barriers to women accessing mental health care services; lessons learned in regard to best practices for prevention and treatment; and policy changes to improve access to perinatal mental health care for pregnant individuals worldwide.
We are collecting questions and comments on this topic ahead of the event. Please send your question firstname.lastname@example.org by October 10, 2021 so we can incorporate audience questions into the discussion. Follow the conversation on Twitter at @Wilson_MHI and @UNFPA and on Instagram at @MaternalHealthInitiative using the hashtags #PMHMatters and #MHDialogue. Find more coverage of these issues on our blog, NewSecurityBeat.org/Dot-Mom.
Neerja Chowdhary Technical Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, World Health Organization
Jane Fisher Finkel Professor of Global Public Health and Professor of Women’s Health, Monash University
Kay Matthews Founder, Shades of Blue Project
Chief Nurse and Midwife, Jhpiego
Founder, Someone Always Listens To You (SALT) Africa
Sarah B. Barnes
Project Director, Maternal Health Initiative