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’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 Momnibus, particularly the Moms MATTER Act, which focuses specifically on maternal mental health for women of color.

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 INITIATED BY MMHLA

2nd Annual VIRTUAL 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.

Virtual 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.

LETTER to Senate Appropriations Leadership Encouraging Additional Funding for Maternal Mental Health Programs (July 11, 2021).  MMHLA assisted Senator Gillibrand’s office in drafting and circulating this letter, which had 15 Senators co-sign.

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.

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.

ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY MMHLA

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

2nd Annual 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.

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.

ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY MMHLA

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.

In addition, MMHLA is a member of the 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.

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.