Mental health and behavioral issues affect millions of Americans every year— only 30 to 50 percent of women with mental illness during pregnancy and postpartum are diagnosed in a clinical setting1, and 1 in 5 children and adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires intervention or monitoring and interferes with daily functioning.2 In recognition of Maternal Mental Health Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, NICHQ highlights opportunities for improvement.

Raise Awareness & Celebrate Strength

Improving mental health outcomes can support better health and well-being for children and families across the country. NICHQ highlights Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month to reduce stigma, share information, and advocate for better systems to provide mental health care for all. Join NICHQ in sharing resources that outline the significant role mental health plays in overall health and wellness, as well as strategies for promoting better mental health for mothers and birthing people, fathers, caregivers, children, and families. These resources will help you get started. 

For Pediatricians: Clinical Mental Health Resources

Primary care clinicians are increasingly identifying children with emotional and behavioral disorders and serve as an important first resource for parents and caregivers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a suite of Primary Care Tools that outlines strategies to enhance pediatric mental health at both individual pediatric practices and the community level, as well as a video series, Implementing Mental Health Priorities in Practice.

Infographic: Supporting Father's Mental Health

From cognitive and social-emotional development to education and employment, children with involved fathers achieve better outcomes on nearly every measure of child well-being. Father involvement is also linked with improved mental health and well-being for mothers and pregnant people, yet 1 in 10 fathers experience Paternal Postpartum Depression.3 We can do more to make fathers visible in maternal and child health. Share this infographic, illustrating the importance of dads’ mental health.

BROCHURE: Healthy Start Perinatal Depression and Anxiety

Community organizations, public health professionals, providers, and other healthcare workers can use the Healthy Start Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Brochure to reach mothers and birthing people in their communities. Also available in Spanish!

Stay Connected with NICHQ

Follow NICHQ on LinkedInFacebook, Instagram, and Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter for articles, resources, and updates about important maternal and child health topics throughout the month. 

Black mother playing with Black baby and toys

Support Caregivers Experiencing Depression

In recognition of National Women's Health Week (May 14-20) and Maternal Mental Health Month, we're sharing resources to create dialogue around maternal depression. Despite the prevalence of maternal depression, too many mothers and birthing people don’t get the help they need to heal. And when mothers' health suffers, their children's health often suffers, too.

  • These helpful case studies highlight stories of three states that have developed successful systems for screening for maternal depression and providing appropriate follow-up treatment.
  • Physicians, public health providers, policymakers, families, and community advocates can take action and drive change to improve mother's mental health. This webinar discusses strategies for improving access to maternal depression screenings and interventions.
Asian child and Black child playing with blocks

Building Strength & Resiliency in Children

Mental health in childhood involves reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, and understanding how to cope when there are problems.

  • Stressful events during childhood can have a negative impact across the lifespan. Promoting protective buffers is a vital way for public health professionals, healthcare providers, families, and policymakers to help more children have a healthy future. Learn more.
  • Strong early social and emotional development gives children the building blocks for lifelong mental health. Pediatric care professionals can help children build this foundation by fostering social and emotional development. Learn more.

Mental Health & Sickle Cell Disease

To acknowledge the impact of sickle cell disease (SCD) on patients' mental health and to increase awareness of this rare and painful diseasethe Sickle Cell Disease Coalition (SCDC) has created reading lists of recommended literature on SCD in an array of genres for children, young adults, and adults.

NICHQ partnered with patient advocates and experts in sickle cell disease care to support increased appointment attendance and to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 for people living with SCD. 

  • Learn more about the initiative, Disseminating Results: Missed Sickle Cell Disease Clinic Appointments and the Health Belief Model
  • Watch the first and second webinars in an engaging, interactive series where we shared our findings from a series of interviews with patients and providers and panelists model conversations among providers, families, and advocates about reasons for and solutions to missed sickle cell disease healthcare appointments.

Black father reading to Black toddler with barrette in hair

Let's Do More for Fathers

One in 10 fathers experience Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD)3 and up to 16 percent of fathers suffer from an anxiety disorder during the perinatal period.4 These two articles outline opportunities to better support fathers.