Up to 20% of women develop a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD), such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or (rarely) psychosis, either during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth.
For Black women, the risk is almost twice that. And yet, fewer Black women get help for these very common and treatable conditions. Researchers aren't entirely clear on the reasons for these statistics, but one obstacle to treatment is stigma around mental health issues, specifically the stereotype of the Black "superwoman."
Black women not only face a higher chance of developing PMAD than white women, but they are also less likely to receive treatment. A study from the Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute found that just less than half as many low-SES Black received counseling or medication in the six months after giving birth compared to white women in a low SES. The Black women also had lower rates of follow-up and continued care.
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