The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) addresses mental illness among pregnant and postnatal women and girls from disadvantaged communities affected by poverty, HIV/AIDS, violence, abuse, social exclusion and refugee status. These women have very little social support, and mental illness may compound their isolation.

Life changes around pregnancy make women more vulnerable to mental illness. The negative cycle of poverty and mental illness impact on a woman’s ability to function and thrive. This can also directly affect her foetus or child, with long-lasting physical, cognitive and emotional outcomes.

Mental health care provides the necessary support to empower women to identify resources and personal capabilities. This can enhance their resilience to difficult life circumstances and support them to nurture their children optimally.

Caring for mothers is a positive intervention for long-term social development.