Welcome to the African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health
Our Vision Educate . Advocate . Act
The mental health of a mother is essential to her wellbeing and that of her child, family and the wider community.
Across Africa, millions of women experience challenges to their mental health in pregnancy and the postnatal period. These challenges include gender-based violence, economic and gender inequalities, physical illnesses (including HIV), complications of childbirth, and the stresses of childcare. Specific mental health problems that affect mothers include depression, anxiety and postpartum psychosis.
The consequences of poor maternal mental health include individual suffering, disturbance of the mother-infant bond, impaired ability to carry out infant care and feeding, and reduced use of health services including HIV treatment, family planning and infant vaccination. Maternal mental health problems and poverty often co-exist in a vicious cycle of disadvantage.
Untreated maternal mental health problems frequently have long-term detrimental effects on the health, growth, and psychological development of infants. Suicide is a tragic outcome of severe maternal mental disorder, and is now a leading cause of maternal death worldwide.
Mental health problems in pregnancy and following childbirth are roughly twice as common in low income countries as they are in high income countries. If the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved by 2030, maternal mental health must be prioritized.
The African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (AAMMH) is an alliance of organisations and individuals working together to improve the mental health of mothers in Africa. It is part of the Global Alliance of Maternal Mental Health (https://globalalliancematernalmentalhealth.org) and works in close collaboration with the Marcé Society African Regional Group (https://marcesociety.com).
AAMMH calls for multi-level action to tackle the causes of poor maternal mental health in Africa, and believes that this is critical to the success of efforts to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals on health (SDG 3), nutrition (SDG 2) and gender equality (SDG 5).
Effective evidence-based interventions exist for the detection, prevention and treatment of maternal mental health problems. These are best delivered through integration of maternal mental healthcare into reproductive and child health programmes, supported by mental health services with specialist expertise.