Black maternal health awareness week runs from 13-18th September 2021 and is dedicated to raising awareness about the disparities in maternal outcomes for Black women and birthing people. It was founded in 2020 by Five X More [footnote 1], “a grassroots organisation committed to changing Black women’s maternal health. Black Women and birthing people in the UK are four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth [footnote 2].

Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of new and expectant birthing people and covers a wide range of conditions [footnote 3]. During pregnancy and the year after birth, many women and birthing people experience common mild mood changes.

Any birthing person may develop mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year after giving birth. However, risk is important – factors such as poverty, migration, extreme stress, exposure to violence (domestic, sexual and gender-based), emergency and conflict situations, natural disasters, trauma and low social support are recognised as increasing risk for specific disorders [footnote 4].

The most common mental health problems that women and birthing people in the perinatal period experience are depression and anxiety [footnote 5]. Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service provide talking therapies, online groups, online self-help therapy and peer support. There is a range of self-help therapy resources on our website including Postnatal Depression and Managing Stress in Parenthood. If you are wanting some guidance on which therapy is for you, our online self-referral process makes it easier for you to provide the information for us to assess your needs. We also prioritise support for partners of birthing people in the perinatal period.

Becoming a parent is a different experience for everyone and it’s not always a happy time. If you’re struggling with your emotions, it’s important to talk to someone and there’s lots of help available in Leeds. You can speak to your GP, Midwife or Health visitor and access further support from Mindwell Leeds website.


  2. MBRRACE-UK, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care, December 2020
  4. Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance. Clinical guideline CG192 (2014)
  5. Royal College of GPs. Position statement about Perinatal Mental Health (2016)