Project Spotlight: Families Matter Society of Calgary

Engaging Black Communities in Perinatal Mental Health Support

Increase involvement of Black communities in the delivery of our Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) program.


Black perinatal individuals and their families in Calgary, AB



  • Increase the awareness and reduce stigma in Black communities about perinatal mental health and supports.
  • Provide peer support to Black parents struggling with their mental health.


  • Recruit and train mothers with lived experience to provide Peer Support
  • Hire Project Coordinator from within the Calgary Black community
  • Engage organizations representing distinct groups within the Black community in consultation, outreach and awareness-building
  • Provide education sessions for the fathers/partners
  • Provide educational sessions for professionals from health/mental health and social service sectors who are serving Black families/Black communities.



  • Family health center

Implementation sites

  • Calgary, Alberta


  • For the past 25 years, Families Matter has offered a unique and specialized perinatal mental health (PMH) Peer program in Calgary that is recognized for its successful outcomes in helping families struggling with postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders.
  • Very few Black families have registered for this PMH program despite research findings indicating a higher relative incidence rate among Black individuals.
  • This project will address an obvious need to engage and support the Black community.


In the words of the project team members

“I’m just hoping that we’ll be able to open up those dialogues and that space, for psychological safety for these families to come forward and to be able to speak to just what’s going on with them. Going from being invisible and not heard, to now having a space where they can be visible, they can be heard, maybe they can feel a sense of normalcy, and they can come back to who they are and then finding themselves and just feeling okay with their experience.”

Key protective factors

  • Resiliency
  • Healthy relationships with peers
  • Supportive relationships in the community
  • Equity
  • Access to health and support services

Key approaches

  • Peer support