MMHLA’s advocacy work is in pursuit of our vision that the United States prioritizes the mental health of women and childbearing people by providing universal and equitable education, prevention, screening, and treatment
for mental health conditions during pregnancy and the year following pregnancy.

MMHLA 2022 ADVOCACY AGENDA
INTO THE LIGHT ACT OF 2022
VIRTUAL ADVOCACY DAY MARCH 16, 2022
CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING JUNE 8, 2022

DOWNLOAD MMHLA’S 2022 ADVOCACY AGENDA

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

  • Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Act of 2022 (S. 3824 / H.R. 7073) .  This legislation was introduced in Congress on March 14, 2022 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA).  Into the Light authorizes and funds existing MMH programs for FY2023-2028, including:
    • Grants to states to create and expand MMH programs.  Increase funding from $5 million a year to $24 million a year so at least half the states can receive grants.
    • Dedicated 24/7/365 MMH hotline to provide real-time voice and text support in both English and Spanish.
  • Supporting additional legislation, including:
    • The Black Maternal Health Momnibus, particularly the Moms MATTER Act, to address MMH equity.
    • The TRUMPH for New Moms Act, to improve federal MMH coordination.
    • Extending pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage from 60 days to a full year postpartum.

ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES LED BY MMHLA

CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING on Maternal Mental Health Advocacy (June 8, 2022).  MMHLA partnered with 2020 Mom and Shades of Blue Project to advocate for increased funding and legislation for MMH programs.  Over 300 people joined this virtual briefing which addressed how the infant formula shortage and COVID pandemic have impacted maternal mental health.

SUMMIT on Prevention Programs (May 23, 2022). MMHLA partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to host an event to highlight three evidence-based programs proven to prevent and/or mitigate postpartum depression.  Over 200 people joined this 2-hour webinar, which featured a plenary session followed by concurrent  break-out sessions providing “deep dives” into the three programs.

ADVOCACY DAY on Maternal Mental Health (March 16, 2022).  MMHLA partnered with 2020 Mom and Shades of Blue Project to host a Virtual Advocacy Day.  Over 100 advocates from across the country met virtually with 115 Congressional staff members and took to social media to advocate for funding and legislation for MMH programs.

LETTERS AUTHORED BY MMHLA

  • LETTER to Senate Appropriations Leadership Encouraging FY2023 Appropriations (May 25, 2022).  MMHLA authored a bipartisan letter (with 20 Senators co-signing) to encourage funding for maternal mental health programs in the FY2023 budget.
  • LETTER to Senate Appropriations Leadership Encouraging Research Within the Department of Defense (May 20, 2022).  MMHLA authored a bipartisan letter (with 11 Senators co-signing) encouraging the Department of Defense to include maternal mental health be added as a research topic under the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP).
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Requesting FY2023 Appropriations (May 16, 2022).  MMHLA authored an organizational sign-on letter (with over 100 co-signers) encouraging Senate and House Appropriations leadership to fund maternal mental health programs in the FY2023 budget.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Regarding Maternal Mental Health Legislation (May 5, 2022).  MMHLA authored an organizational sign-on letter (with over 100 co-signers) encouraging legislation addressing maternal mental health be included in Senate and House mental health packages.
  • LETTERS to SENATE and HOUSE Leadership Supporting Into the Light Legislation (March 15, 2022).  MMHLA authored letters encouraging House Leadership to include Into the Light in 21st Century Cures Reauthorization (co-signed by over 125 organizations in maternal-child, mental health, and maternal mental health).
  • LETTER  to Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Regarding Telemental Health (February 15, 2022).  MMHLA authored a letter to the Administrator of CMS encouraging CMS to permanently extend Medicaid and Medicare coverage for telehealth to help improve access to mental health care for pregnant and postpartum mothers on Medicaid and SSDI under Medicare.  

LETTERS SUPPORTED BY MMHLA

  • LETTER Regarding Suicide Prevention (June 1, 2022), submitted to Congressional leaders, encouraging funding for extreme risk protection order laws.
  • LETTER Supporting the TRIUMPH for New Moms Act (May 23, 2022), submitted by 2020 Mom, to Representative Pallone
  • LETTER Supporting the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 / H.R. 7666 (May 10, 2022), submitted to House Leadership, seeking to end opt outs from federal mental health and addiction parity requirements for nonfederal government plans.
  • LETTER Supporting the Strengthen Kids’ Mental Health Now Act / H.R. 7236 (May 10, 2022), submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group, to House leadership.
  • LETTERS Supporting the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act / S.4271 and H.R. 7255, submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group, to House and Senate Leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program (April 29, 2022), submitted to Congressional leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Kids Online Safety Act / S. 3663 (April 13, 2022), submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group, to Senate leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Virtual Peer Support Act of 2021 / S.157 and H.R.2929 (April 11, 2022), submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group, to Congressional leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting FY23 Appropriations for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant (April 6, 2022), submitted by Friends of the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Program, to Congressional Appropriations leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (April 4, 2022), submitted by Mental Health America and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, to Congressional leaders, seeking a prevention and early intervention set-aside.
  • LETTER Supporting the Supporting Children’s Mental Health Care Access Act of 2022 (April 4, 2022), expressing thanks to Senate leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Collaborate in an Orderly and Cohesive Manner Act / H.R. 5218 (April 4, 2022), submitted by the American Psychological Association and No Health Without Mental Health, to House Energy and Commerce Leadership.
  • LETTER Supporting the Anna Westin Legacy Act (April 4, 2022), submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group to Congressional leadership, to reauthorize and expand the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders.
  • LETTER Supporting the 988 Implementation Act (February 18, 2022), submitted by the Mental Health Liaison Group, expressing thanks to House leadership.
  • LETTER Regarding Telemental Health (February 17, 2022), seeking to delay implementation of the telemental health in-person requirement, to Congressional leadership.

DOWNLOAD MMHLA’S 2021 ADVOCACY AGENDA

MMHLA’s policy priorities for 2021 include the following:

  • Increasing federal funding so that each state can launch programs to address maternal mental health.
  • Authorizing and funding a dedicated maternal mental health hotline to provide 24/7 voice and text support that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Supporting the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, particularly the Moms MATTER Act, which focuses specifically on maternal mental health for women of color.

ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES LED BY MMHLA

CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING on Maternal Mental Health and Suicide: Addressing The Leading Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth (June 12, 2021).  MMHLA and the March of Dimes partnered to host a Virtual Congressional briefing with over 700 participants.

ADVOCACY DAY on Appropriations for Maternal Mental Health Programs (March 4, 2021).  MMHLA and the March of Dimes partnered to host a Virtual Advocacy Day with over 250 advocates from across the country meeting virtually with over 50 Congressional staff members to seek additional funding for maternal mental health programs.

WEBINAR on Advocacy 101 (February 18, 2021).  MMHLA and the March of Dimes partnered to host a 1-hour webinar on Advocacy 101; over 600 advocates participated.

LETTERS AUTHORED BY MMHLA

  • LETTER to Senators Wyden and Crapo Providing Information on Enhancing Behavioral Healthcare (November 15, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter providing input about maternal mental health in response to a letter from Senators Wyden and Crapo dtd September 21, 2021).
  • LETTER to Senators Murphy and Cassidy Providing Information About Maternal Mental Health (November 5, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter responding to a Request for Information dtd October 5, 2021).
  • LETTER to Representative Pallone Regarding Moms Matter Act (September 21, 2021).  MMHLA joined sister organizations 2020 Mom, Postpartum Support International, and Shades of Blue Project in recognizing Rep Pallone’s work in passing the Moms Matter Act as part of the Build Back Better Act.
  • LETTER to Office of Research on Women’s Health Regarding Women’s Health Consensus Conference (September 13, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter in response to an RFI Inviting Comments to Inform the Women’s Health Consensus Conference.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Encouraging Funding MMH Programs In Build Back Better Act (September 10, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter to Congressional leadership requesting additional funding for grants to states as part of the Build Back Better Act.
  • LETTER to Senators Bennett and Cornyn Regarding “A Bold Vision For America’s Mental Wellbeing” (September 7, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter providing feedback on the Senators’ vision for improving mental health care in the United States.
  • LETTER to Senate Appropriations Leadership Encouraging Additional Funding for Maternal Mental Health Programs (June 11, 2021).  MMHLA assisted Senator Gillibrand’s office in drafting and circulating this letter, which had 15 Senators co-sign.
  • LETTER to Vice President Harris Following Maternal Mortality Roundtable Discussion (April 15, 2021).  MMHLA and sister organizations 2020 Mom and Postpartum Support International sent a letter to Vice President Harris recognizing her efforts to address maternal mortality.
  • LETTER to House Appropriations Leadership Encouraging Additional Funding for Maternal Mental Health Programs (March 12, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by over 40 Congressional Representatives) encouraging increasing funding for two specific programs.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Encouraging Additional Funding for Maternal Mental Health Programs (February 12, 2021).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by 25 national organizations representing women’s health and mental health) to encourage additional funding for programs addressing maternal mental health as part of the COVID-19 relief package.

LETTERS SUPPORTED BY MMHLA

  • LETTER to Senate Finance Committee Leadership Regarding Mental Health Parity (October 13, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter authored by the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose and the Mental Health Liaison Group with recommendations to ensure mental health parity by improving access to and coverage of health care services for individuals experiencing mental health or substance use disorders.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Supporting the Build Back Better Act (September 17, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter, co-signed by 244 organizations, expressing support and appreciation for the maternal health provisions of this legislation, which includes extending pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum, along with robust investments in programs to better serve women from racial and ethnic minority groups.  Learn more about the Build Back Better Act.
  • LETTER to House Appropriations Leadership Supporting the 988 Suicide Support Line (September 17, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter authored by the Mental Health Liaison Group encouraging the House to fund the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • LETTER to Representative Lauren Underwood Supporting the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act (September 17, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter expressing strong support for H.R.5035 to provide training and resources for youth suicide prevention and lethal means safety.
  • LETTER to Secretary of Health and Human Services and Administrator and Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Regarding Digital Therapeutics (June 16, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter encouraging access to digital therapeutics for American with mental health or substance use disorders.
  • LETTER to Senate Leadership Supporting the MOMS Act (May 24, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter encouraging the Senate to pass the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Service (MOMS) Act, S. 1697.
  • LETTER to House Leadership Supporting the Protecting Moms Who Served Act (April 15, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter encouraging the House to pass the Protecting Moms Who Served Act, H.R. 958.
  • LETTER to President Biden and Vice President Harris (March 24, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics encouraging activities to include pregnant and lactating people in clinical trials.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Supporting the Title V Block Grant (March 24, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter, drafted by AMCHP, encouraging Congress to support $750 million for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant.
  • LETTER to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (March 1, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics encouraging providing COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant and lactating women.
  • LETTER to Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (February 23, 2021).  MMHLA supported a letter underscoring the importance of maintaining a declaration of public health emergency through 2021.

ACTIVITIES INITIATED BY MMHLA

CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING on the Status of Maternal Mental Health (May 19, 2020).  MMHLA — in partnership with the March of Dimes — hosted a VIRTUAL Congressional briefing with almost 450 participants.  Learn more about and watch the briefing HERE.

LETTERS

  • LETTER to Senate Leadership Encouraging Extending Pregnancy Medicaid (October 28, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by over 100 organizations) encouraging the United States Senate to enact legislation extending Medicaid for eligible new mothers for a full year postpartum.
  • LETTER to Senate Appropriations Committee Leadership Regarding Maternal Mental Health Hotline (September 8, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by over 125 organizations) requesting the Senate Appropriations Committee support funding a maternal mental health hotline at $3.5 million.
  • LETTER to Senators Bluementhal and Kaine Endorsing S.3809 (July 7, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by sister organizations 2020Mom and Postpartum Support International) endorsing S.3809, the Military Mothers Mental Health Assessment Act.
  • LETTER to Representatives Kennedy and Underwood Endorsing H.R.6143 (July 7, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by sister organizations 2020Mom and Postpartum Support International) endorsing H.R.6143, the Moms MATTER Act of 2020.
  • LETTER to Senate and House Leadership Regarding Screening and Treatment of Maternal Depression (June 25, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by over 30 organizations) to Senate and House leaders requesting additional funding for HRSA grants to states to create programs to address maternal depression.
  • LETTER to House Energy and Commerce Committee Regarding 21st Century Cures Act 2.0 (June 24, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by sister organizations 2020Mom and Postpartum Support International) encouraging funding programs to address maternal mental health.
  • LETTER to the Directors of the NIH and FDA Regarding Diversity in COVID-19 Research (June 15, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter encouraging including women in COVID-19 research and clinical trials.
  • LETTER to House Appropriations Leadership Regarding Screening and Treatment of Maternal Depression (May 1, 2020).  MMHLA authored a letter (co-signed by over 30 organizations) requesting additional funding for HRSA grants to states to create programs to address maternal depression.

In addition, MMHLA participates in several national-level convenings, including:

  • Lifeline For Moms, a learning community bringing together leaders of psychiatry access programs for networking, professional development, and collaboration.
  • Mental Health Liaison Group,  a coalition of national organizations representing consumers, family members, mental health and addiction providers, advocates, payers and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Americans’ access to mental health and addiction care.
  • Mind The Gap Initiative, a collective action led by Postpartum Support International focused on improving maternal mental health care in the United States.

ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY MMHLA

LETTERS

  • LETTER to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar (December 18, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare) providing thoughts about COVID-19 vaccinations for essential personnel.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Encouraging Passage of Legislation Addressing Maternal Mortality (December 4, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by AMCHP) encouraging Congress to pass the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (H.R. 4995) and the bipartisan Helping MOMS Act of 2020 (H.R. 4996).
  • LETTERS to Governors Addressing Telemental Health Coverage (October 20, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group encouraging states to extend telemental health coverage for commercial plans remain through 2021.  Letters were sent to the following states that do not have a telelemental health mandate in place: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  • LETTER to Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Regarding Telehealth (October 5, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group supporting expanding telehealth, and strongly urging allowing telehealth through audio-only devices and the elimination of cutrent geographic and site restrictions.
  • LETTER to U.S. Senators Sullivan and Rosen (September 25, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group supporting S4211, the Facilitating Reforms That Offer Necessary Telehealth In Every Rural (FRONTIER) Community Act.
  • LETTER to House Leadership Regarding the Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act (September 24, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group supporting H.R.8094, the Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act, aimed at reducing mental health burnout among healthcare providers.
  • LETTER to Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services (August 10, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by sister organization 2020Mom) regarding Postpartum and Prenatal Depression Core Set Measures.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Regarding Extending Medicaid (July 23, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) encouraging extending Medicaid Insurance for eligible mothers for a full year postpartum.
  • LETTER to House Leadership Regarding National Suicide Hotline (July 22, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group encouraging the House to vote on S2661 to implement “988” as the 3-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • LETTER to Senate Leadership Regarding Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (June 25, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group encouraging increasing FMAP.
  • LETTER to Senate Leadership Regarding Coronavirus Phase 4 Funding (June 22, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group encouraging expanding infrastructure for mental health and substance use services and support.
  • LETTER to Congressional Leadership Regarding Coronavirus Phase 4 Funding (May 8, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by March for Moms and Every Mother Counts) encouraging implementing policies to ensure that all families are kept safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • LETTER to Congressional Appropriations Leadership Regarding Screening and Treatment of Maternal Depression (March 24, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter (drafted by American Academy of Pediatrics) encouraging funding $8 million for HRSA grants to states to create programs to address maternal depression.  Letter also included funding request for child psychiatry access programs.
  • LETTER to NIH and FDA Regarding COVID-19 and Pregnant / Lactating Women (March 18, 2020).  MMHLA supported a letter from the CAMT encouraging including pregnant and lactating women in COVID-19 research and clinical trials.

2019 Policy Efforts

1st Annual Congressional Briefing on the Status of Maternal Mental Health (May 3, 2019).  MMHLA Founder Jamie Belsito and MMH advocate Valerie Wilson discussed the state of maternal mental health in light of maternal mortality statistics.

LETTER  to House regarding MIECHV Early Home Visiting Programs (December 10, 2019).  MMHLA supported a letter to reauthorize MIECHV Early Home Visiting Programs.

LETTER to Senate Appropriations Leadership Regarding HHS Interagency Report (May 30,2019).  MMHLA supported a letter to Senate leadership requesting an interagency report by the Department of Health and Human Services on the role each agency plays in addressing maternal mental health.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FEDERAL MMH POLICIES