In our latest study, we surveyed over 1,000 people across NYC and the nation about motherhood, mental health and health care.
This study confirms what many New Yorkers already know: NYC moms are truly unique. Their needs cannot be generalized to the average U.S. population. As a health care organization that exclusively serves this City, we see these findings as a big step toward meaningful change. With this information, we have the power to focus on where and how moms need help the most.
The 2023 Motherhood Report also revealed significant gaps in:
- Mental health care access
- Mental health care awareness
- Maternal mortality awareness
It doesn’t matter if you are a mom, a dad, a caretaker, a grandparent, or a neighbor. Parenthood does not exist in a vacuum. This report is here to unite us all. Together, we can help moms and health care move forward.
Unique New York: How NYC stands apart
We compared how residents of NYC and people across America view motherhood. Overall, the City stood out in one key area: pride. When asked if NYC moms are more resilient than mothers in other cities, 6 in 10 New Yorkers agreed.
People here were also more aware of how City life impacts parents – 80% of New Yorkers think there are unique challenges to being a mom in NYC. Just 60% of the general population felt the same way.
What are these unique challenges? It isn’t just about finding stroller-friendly subway stops. People seem to believe there is a lack of interpersonal support for moms in NYC. New Yorkers were 29% more likely to say that mothers in their city are less supported by family and friends.
Grassroots work at the community level can help close this gap. No one should have to navigate parenthood on their own—especially in a city of 8 million people.
The Awareness Gap
According to the NIH, Black mothers and birthing people are almost three times more likely to die in childbirth. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDH) discovered it is even higher at the local level. In New York, Black, non-Hispanic women and birthing people are five times more likely to die in childbirth than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts. A shocking 78% of these deaths were preventable.
What did our respondents think about this gap? Many are in the dark about this deadly trend. Overall, 50% of people incorrectly believed Black and White pregnant people die at the same rate.
When asked about their personal experiences giving birth, respondents also showed differences in overall access to support. Our study found that 70% of all women and birthing people wished they knew more about the mental health challenges that come with childbirth. However, these numbers are even higher within Hispanic and Black communities.
Change cannot happen without awareness. These gaps in mortality and in mental health will not close on their own. Care providers, families, public health organizations, and policymakers need to understand the risks women and birthing people face throughout pregnancy.
Great Strides in Mental Health
Awareness works. How do we know? We did the math.
Last year, we issued a report on the unique mental health challenges women face in Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities throughout NYC. The results were shocking: 72% of AAPI women said they felt stressed, 64% said the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health, and 61% had social anxiety due to the pandemic. Each of these statistics is a cause for concern. One, however, had us sounding the alarm: 44% of AAPI women told us they had been called a racial slur.
We took action. After issuing the report, we held a press conference on the steps of City Hall and hosted a virtual Town Hall with members of the City Council, Governor’s Office, and community leaders. Our findings rightfully received national attention and were profiled in Newsweek.
A lot has changed in a year.
In our 2023 Motherhood Report, when we asked respondents whether they encourage their friends and families to seek mental health support, 77% of AAPI respondents said yes. In 2022, just 67% had the same response.
This 10% increase points to a brighter future for the ongoing fight to end the stigma surrounding conversations about mental health.
Today’s gaps in maternal mortality and mental health care are symptoms of a greater problem. Disparities in care create disparities in health. Everyone, regardless of who they are, deserves equal access to compassionate care.
As a nonprofit, we believe health care is a human right. To make sure everyone has access to lifesaving resources, we need to know what needs to change. That’s what this study is all about.
The 2023 Motherhood Report shows significant gaps in access and awareness for mothers across NYC and the nation. However, there is hope. Responses showed that people care about moms. They just need to know how to pitch in. Parenting is never simple. But, together, we can help make it easier—and safer—to navigate for everyone.
Since 1985, MetroPlusHealth Plan has built a reputation for providing access to affordable, quality health care to residents across New York City. MetroPlusHealth is the plan of choice for over 600,000 New Yorkers and has a five-star rating based on the State’s 2020 Consumer’s Guide to Medicaid and Child Health Plus Managed Care Plans in New York City. The health plan’s robust network of primary care doctors and specialists includes many independent community providers. Culturally sensitive, and fluent in more than 40 languages, MetroPlusHealth’s staff is as diverse as the great City it serves. For more information about MetroPlusHealth plans, benefits, and services, visit www.metroplus.org and join the conversation at facebook.com/metroplushealth and twitter @metroplushealth. MetroPlusHealth is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health system.