Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) during the perinatal period is a global issue. This period is characterized by high risk of depression, anxiety, and somatic disorders – often referred to as common perinatal mental disorders (CPMDs) with one in six pregnant women and one in five postpartum women impacted by a mental health and psychosocial concern during pregnancy or in the first postnatal year.


In humanitarian settings, these risks are often amplified by adversity and destabilizing factors including political instability, violence, loss, poverty, and migration. While MHPSS needs occur throughout the life course, the focus of this brief will be the perinatal period, as during this time, these illnesses can have severe, and even intergenerational effects, on maternal and newborn health (MNH) and development. The perinatal period is also a critical time when women are more frequently interfacing with health staff, allowing for more timely identification of mental health and psychosocial concerns and referral for appropriate support.

How to Use

Collaborating for Maternal Mental Wellbeing: Technical Brief on Perinatal Mental Health in Humanitarian Settings from the IAWG Maternal and Newborn Health Sub Working Group aims to provide an overview of MHPSS perinatal mental health in emergency response, present relevant resources, suggestions for improving collaboration and provision of perinatal mental health, examples of service delivery collaboration, and culminate with a call to action to progress momentum for peri­natal mental health.