Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County (SCC), in the heart of Silicon Valley in northern California, is home to the cities of San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Saratoga, Mountain View and Palo Alto to name a few. With a current estimated population of 1,894,605, SCC is comprised of hugely ethnically and economically disparate communities and is largely underserved in terms of maternal (and paternal) mental wellness.

 

Perinatal mood disorders in SCC are widespread and increasing, yet we know that with early peer support intervention during a woman’s pregnancy or in the early life of her newborn, there is a positive impact on her mental wellbeing.

 

Women and especially teen mothers who receive regular compassionate and non-judgmental peer support are more likely to initiate breastfeeding and have an overall stronger commitment in the importance of good health for themselves and their family.

The Facts

In SCC, a county with exorbitant housing and living costs and an acute lack of affordable housing, those at highest risk are low-income families, teen moms, mothers with a history of substance use or trauma, and shelterless families. Currently, an estimated 21.9% of the population of SCC lives below the poverty line. In 2012, around 7,000 women participated in WIC during pregnancy, around 3,200 women received CalFresh food stamps during pregnancy and 30.7% of births were Medi-Cal insured deliveries. Approximately 26.9% of mothers in 2012 were single mothers living in poverty, and 800 mothers were homeless or did not have a regular place to sleep.

 

Many women do not have family members to help support them in the early weeks and months of motherhood, and transportation issues within SCC continue to be a barrier for many. Women for whom regular affordable transportation isn’t an option have the added struggle of isolation and loneliness.

Diversity In Our Community

In SCC, the greatest disparities exist among Hispanic and African American mothers, who have higher rates of Medi-Cal insured deliveries compared to Whites and Asian/Pacific Islander mothers. Hispanic and African American women aged 15 to 17 have higher rates of teenage pregnancy compared to White and Asian/Pacific Islander women, while Hispanic teens in SCC have a birth rate nearly nine times that of White teens.

Why We Exist

With no single organization focusing solely on supporting mothers and families coping with perinatal mood disorders existing in SCC, and very few therapists and psychiatrists who specialize in maternal mood disorders, and hardly any bi-lingual providers, mothers in need of PMD support and treatment are unlikely to receive timely services. Moreover, low income, teen moms, and other high-risk populations face overwhelming obstacles in accessing warm, friendly, compassionate help.

How You Can Help

With your help, we can make a difference in these communities. Click HERE to donate to Supporting Mamas and find out more about our volunteer opportunities and the ways you can get involved.