Advocacy Events

March for Moms hosted a terrific Virtual Town Hall meeting with a diverse group of speakers raising awareness about issues affecting mothers and families.

Mom Congress is a coalition of non-profit organizations and individual moms, supported by business partners who come together the first week in May to have  conversations about motherhood with legislators, federal agencies and the media.  This year’s MomCongress

Each May since 2014, The Blue Dot Project has led Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, a social media campaign to raise awareness about maternal mental health issues. Each year the theme changes, but the aim is the same: combat stigma and shame through social media outreach.

World Maternal Mental Health Day draws attention to essential mental health concerns for mothers and families.  Since 2016 a multidisciplinary group of international maternal mental health activists, academics, clinicians and people with lived experience are coming together once a year to raise awareness of this ever topic to demand maternal mental health services for all.

The goal of Black Maternal Mental Health Week is to have those who work in maternal health make a commitment to incorporate black maternal mental health in all areas of their practice, thus changing how maternal mental health currently goes untreated among black women.

BIPOC Resources

Resources and Organizations Focused on the maternal health and mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

This list is not meant to be all-inclusive but rather serves as a starting point for finding resources and information.

Akoma Counseling Concepts:  A DC-based female minority owned mental health counseling and consultation practice that specializes in women’s mental health and perinatal mental health counseling.

Ancient Song Doula Services:  Tackling issues affecting communities of color through community, advocacy, reproductive/birth justice, and education.

Birth Center Equity Fund:  The Birth Center Equity Fund focuses on making birth center care an option for every person who wants it, by growing and sustaining birth centers led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. 100% of funds raised go to BIPOC birth centers.

Black Mamas Matter Alliance:  An advocacy organization focused on improving the health and well-being of black women through research, policy, and cultural shifts.

Black Mental Wellness:  A corporation of clinical psychologists who recognize the need for culturally competent professionals to collaborate and address mental health issues that are prevalent and unique to the experiences of Black people.

Black Women’s Health Imperative:  The first nonprofit organization created by Black women to help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls.

The Bloom Collective:  A Baltimore-based center for birth education, lactation, and perinatal support.

Common Sense Childbirth:  Founded by midwife Jennie Josphe, the mission of this organization is to inspire change in maternal child health care systems worldwide and to re-empower the birthing mother, father, family and community by supporting the providers, practitioners and agencies that are charged with their care.

Diversity Uplifts:  A consulting and training nonprofit organization determined to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities by supporting diverse populations and increasing cultural competence and humility among providers who serve them.

The Loveland Foundation:  This fund provides grants to Black women and girls to obtain high-quality mental health care.

Mamatoto Village:  A not-for-profit organization committed to furthering the careers of Women of Color and providing perinatal support services to all, including home visiting, doula, childbirth education, and lactation support.

Midwives for Black Lives:  This BIPOC midwife collaborative movement was created to improve birth outcomes for Black families through scholarships for Black student midwives.

MomCongress Black Learn, Listen, and Lift Toolkit:  This toolkit includes listings of books, films, podcasts, organizations and more designed to help non-Black individuals understand how deeply racism runs in our country and to ensure Black women and Black America are heard, treated equally, and are respected for all that has been endured.

National Association to Advance Black Birth:  Working to promote midwives, doulas, and training programs to improve the care of Black women, persons, and infants.

National Black Midwives Alliance:  A member-supported organization focused on raising awareness about black midwives and eliminating disparities in U.S. perinatal health.

National Birth Equity Collaborative:  Focused on creating solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research, and community-centered collaboration.

Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color:  A program within Postpartum Support International geared towards building capacity in the perinatal mental health field to better support families and providers of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Shades of Blue Project:  A Texas-based nonprofit whose mission is to break cultural barriers in maternal mental health.

Shades of You, Shades of Me:  The only conference in the United States focused exclusively on multicultural maternal mental health.

SisterSong:  A reproductive justice organization focused on improving the lives of women of color through community organizing and advocacy to catalyze systemic change.

Therapy for Black Girls:  Dedicated to decreasing stigma and increasing access to culturally competent mental health care for black people.

Books, Movies, Podcasts, Radio, TedTalks, Videos

Scores of books about maternal mental health issues are available; most have been written since 2000.

Movies

  • Dark Side of the Full Moon is a full-length documentary exploring what happens when motherhood collides with mental health.
  • Not Carol is a feature length documentary examining a harrowing case of postpartum psychosis.
  • When The Bought Breaks — produced by postpartum depression survivor Brooke Shields — explores postpartum depression.

Plays

  • Playing Monopoly With God shines a much needed spotlight on the often unspoken traumas of the postpartum experience.
  • This Is My Brave hosts story-telling events across the country to to bring stories of mental illness and addiction out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Several podcasts either focus on maternal mental health or feature specific episodes about maternal mental health.

  • Adventures with Postpartum Depression.  Courtney Novak, a postpartum depression survivor, hosts this podcast with the goal of ending the stigma about postpartum depression through story-telling.
  • Get Healthy 360.  In this episode, perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Marley Doyle talks about postpartum depression and other maternal mental health challenges.
  • Mom and Mind.   Perinatal mental health specialist Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D. shares real life stories of moms, dads and family, along with interviews with experts, leaders and advocates in the field of maternal mental health and maternal health.
  • PsychCentral.  In this episode of Psych Center, licensed clinical psychologist Emma Basch shares facts and statistics about maternal mental health.
  • PostpartumMen.  Dr. Will Courtney talks about how men can overcome postpartum depression.

National Public Radio has aired over 100 stories about postpartum depression and related maternal mental health issues in the last decade.  Here are the highlights from the last two years:

Postpartum Support International is the world’s leading organization in supporting women experiencing maternal mental health issues and education the providers who care for them.

The following organizations have videos and public service announcements:

YouTube has scores of videos about POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION and related maternal mental health issues.

Conferences

AMCHP Conference

Mental Health America

American Academy of Pediatrics

International Marce Society 2020 Biennial Meeting

American Academy of Family Physicians

Shades of You, Shades of Me

Multicultural Maternal Mental Health Conference

Psychopharmacology Conference

North America Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology

Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

National Perinatal Association

International Association for Women’s Mental Health

Performance Measures

In 2019, the National Committee for Quality Assurance — with assistance from the ZOMA Foundation and the California Healthcare Foundation — developed care quality measures around screening for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  In 2020, these measures were added to the national Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), which includes measures for physicians, insurance providers, and other organizations.  The two measures are:

  • PRENATAL Depression Screening and Follow-Up.  The percentage of deliveries in which members were screened for clinical depression while pregnant and, if screened positive, received follow-up care.  Two rates are reported:
    • Depression Screening: The percentage of deliveries in which members were screened for clinical depression during pregnancy using a standardized instrument.
    • Follow-Up on Positive Screen: The percentage of deliveries in which members received follow-up care within 30 days of screening positive for depression.
  • POSTPARTUM Depression Screening and Follow-Up.  The percentage of deliveries in which members were screened for clinical depression during the postpartum period and, if screened positive, received follow-up care.  Two rates are reported:
    • Depression Screening: The percentage of deliveries in which members were screened for clinical depression during the postpartum period using a standardized instrument.
    • Follow-Up on Positive Screen: The percentage of deliveries in which members received follow-up care within 30 days of screening positive for depression.

Learn more here: NCQA Perinatal Depression Measures.

____________________________

Download MMHLA’s newsletter about Performance Measures.

In July 2020, a WorkGroup provided an annual review and made recommendations to the Medicaid Core Set of performance measures.  The WorkGroup recommended adding the POSTPARTUM Depression Screening and Follow-Up Measure but recommended against adding the PRENATAL Depression Screening and Follow-Up Measure.  A public comment period was available until August 10.

Learn more here: Recommendations for Improving the Core Sets of Health Care Quality Measures for Medicaid and CHIP.  Information about prenatal and postpartum depression screening can be found on pp. 16-18.

____________________________

MMHLA believes strongly that women should be screened for depression (and related maternal mental health conditions) both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.  MMHLA took the following actions to encourage the WorkGroup to recommend adding the PRENATAL Depression Screening and Follow-Up Measure:

  • Submitted COMMENTS to the WorkGroup.
  • Signed onto a LETTER originated by 2020Mom.
  • Mobilized other organizations to provide feedback to the WorkGroup.

____________________

Download MMHLA’s newsletter about Performance Measures.

Policy — National

The 2020 Budget includes language requiring the Secretary of the Health and Human Services agency to convene agencies to determine what further role each should play in awareness, screening, diagnosis and treatment. The report must be issued to Congress by Wednesday June 17, 2020.

Maternal Mental Health.—The Committee is concerned that up
to 20 percent of new or expectant mothers will experience a maternal
mental health disorder during pregnancy or within the first
year after childbirth—such as depression, anxiety, or postpartum
psychosis. Untreated maternal mental health disorders negatively
impact the short and long-term health of affected mothers and
their children, with symptoms leading to adverse birth outcomes,
impaired maternal-infant bonding, poor infant growth, childhood
emotional and behavioral problems, and significant medical and
economic cost. The Committee directs the Secretary to submit a report,
in consultation with HRSA, SAMSHA, CDC, CMS, Office of
the Surgeon General, Office on Women’s Health, and Office of Minority
Health, to the Committees on Appropriations within 180
days of enactment of this Act on the role that each agency can take
to address gaps in maternal mental health public awareness,
screening, diagnosis and delivery for pregnant and postpartum
women.

With increased public attention to maternal mortality, members of the United States Congress have introduced several bills to provide additional resources for new mothers and to strengthen government agencies in their work addressing maternal mortality.  Learn more here.

In 2018, the initial round of funding ($5 million) was released and the Department of Health and Human Services (through the Health Resources and Services Administration) announced a competitive grant process for the states. Seven states (Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont) were awarded a total of $4.5 million to implement programs addressing maternal mental health.  Read the HRSA announcement.

In 2016, the United States Congress enacted the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.  This law provides funding for programs addressing maternal mental health issues at the state level.  Read the entire text of the law.

In 2010, the United States Congress passed (but never funded) the MOTHER’S Act which called for research into the causes of and best treatments for postpartum depression, a public awareness campaign, a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and psychosis, and a grant program to fund treatment services.  While The MOTHERS Act was never funded, it nevertheless was historically significant as it introduced language about postpartum depression into the federal legislative record and garnered support and interest across political parties.  Read the entire text of the law

Policy — State

Several states have taken steps to address maternal mental health (MMH) conditions by enacting legislation, requiring education and/or screening, and developing awareness campaigns.

  • States requiring screening women for maternal mental health (MMH) conditions include California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
  • States requiring educating healthcare providers and/or maternity patients include California, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
  • States with public awareness campaigns include California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington.
  • One state – Illinois – recognizes maternal mental health (MMH) conditions as a factor in criminal cases.

States that have Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day and/or Month  include:

Print Materials and Toolkits

The organizations listed below offer FREE comprehensive toolkits for addressing maternal mental health (MMH) conditions.

Professional Development Opportunities

CE4Less offers 2 online courses in maternal mental health, both authored by Karen Kleiman, MSW and Amy Wenzel, PhD:

Massachusetts’ General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Health provides a BLOG with almost-daily postings about a wide range of issues affecting women’s mental health across the lifespan and a monthly NEWSLETTER with information about the latest news and research in women’s mental health.

ONLINE COURSE: Psychiatric Disorders in Women:  Diagnostic and Treatment Considerations Across the Female Lifespan.  This course will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in women across the reproductive lifespan.  Specialized knowledge is necessary to tailor treatments to reproductive events such as pregnancy and pregnancy planning, the postpartum, breastfeeding, the menopausal transition, and menstrual cycle related mood dysregulation. Up to date and comprehensive knowledge is required to help patients make collaborative and individualized treatment decisions. Learning in this course will be facilitated by didactic materials delivered by the faculty from the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health. Faculty will also provide question and answer and case-based discussion sessions for course participants. Readings to accompany course materials will also be provided.  Learn more HERE.

Maternal Mental Health NOW offers several online self-paced training opportunities, including an introductory-level self paced online certificate training and 5 advanced-level specialized courses.

Learn more HERE.

The National Curriculum in Reproductive Psychiatry (NCRP) is a peer-reviewed online curriculum created by the National Task Force on Women’s Reproductive Mental Health and MONA (Marce of North America).  The NCRP curriculum can be used in a modular fashion for residency education and in its entirety as a fellowship curriculum.  The interactive web-based curriculum includes 50 hours of classroom education and serves three purposes:

  • To provide materials to be used in the classroom using non-expert facilitators, which could be freely adopted by any residency program in any specialty.
  • To provide self-study materials for trainees or doctors in general practice to learn materials on their own.
  • To provide rigorous CME assessments that, if taken together, could represent an examination of a trainee’s knowledge in the entire field of reproductive psychiatry and, with an eye toward certification and eventual sub-specialty recognition.

Learn more HERE.

The Postpartum Action Institute is dedicated to the power of professionals and advocates who are willing to improve care during the transition to parenthood.  A maximum of 6 attendees per session will practice skills in an interactive and intimate home setting – not in a typical classroom. Through innovative training methods over one and a half days, will gain insights not taught anywhere in schools or professional conferences.  The Postpartum Action Institute is led by two notables in the field of maternal mental health: Jane Honikman, Founder of Postpartum Support International, and Shoshana Bennett, PhD.

Workshops for 2020 are held in Santa Barbara on the following dates:

  • February 15-16
  • May 2-3
  • August 15-16
  • November 7-8

Learn more HERE.

Karen Kleiman, LCSW, founder of the Postpartum Stress Center, leads a 2-day training entitled The Art Of Holding Perinatal Women in Distress: Assessment, Treatment, and Advanced Clinical Practice.   Held in a small group format, this course is designed to enhance clinical skills and therapeutic effectiveness by expanding and strengthening the clinical and personal repertoire.  The purpose of the course is to prepare competent, reflective perinatal experts who are passionate about providing excellent clinical treatment.

Trainings for 2020 are held in suburban Philadelphia on the following dates::

  • March 6-7
  • June 5-6
  • September 11-12

Learn more HERE.

2-day Certificate Course in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

The 2-day PSI Certificate of Completion Course, taught by experienced and engaging faculty, is a thorough and evidence-based curriculum designed for nurses, physicians, social workers, mental health providers, childbirth professionals, social support providers, or anyone interested in learning skills and knowledge for assessment and treatment of perinatal mood disorders. Registration includes training binder, handouts, breakfast and lunch, and continuing education credits. Approved for CMEs, CNEs, and CEs.

Advanced Trainings in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology

PSI also provides advanced trainings in psychotherapy and psychopharmacology in conjunction with the 2-day Certificate Course.  These two courses complete the pre-requisite for PSI’s Perinatal Mental Health Certification.

Training dates for 2020:

  • January 23-25.  Nashville TN
  • February 5-7.  Arlington TX
  • February 26-28. Los Angeles CA
  • March 4-5.  Bishop, CA
  • April 1-2.  Columbia MO
  • April 22-23.  Peoria IL
  • May 7-8.  Lakeport, CA
  • May 20-22.  Kingston ON (Canada)
  • June 15-17.  Oklahoma City OK

Learn more HERE.

Maternal Mental Health 101 (offered periodically) is a FREE 90-minute webinar presented in partnership with 2020Mom.  Learn from the experts: Joy Burkhard, Executive Director of 2020Mom; Wendy Davis, Executive Director of PSI; and Birdie Gunyon Meyer, former President of PSI.  Learn more HERE.

Maternal Mental Health Online Certificate Course (February 2020) is an online webinar series presented in partnership with 2020Mom.  The Course includes eight live sessions, small group discussions, supplemental reading materials, 16 continuing education credits (where applicable), and a certificate of completion.  Learn more HERE.

Perinatal Mental Health Webinar Series (on demand) is a 7-class webinar series covering identification, diagnosis, support, treatment, and latest research about perinatal mental health. The expert faculty, members of the PSI President’s Advisory Council, are experienced clinicians, researchers, and advocates.  Learn more HERE.

Psychopharmacology in Perinatal Mental Health (on demand) is an educational presentation of a live webinar  presented by Chris Raines, APRN-BC. The 2-hour webinar covers Pharmacological Interventions in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Lactation and is designed as an intermediate level educational event in the study of perinatal mental health. Learn more HERE.

Webinars for Family and Community Support (on demand) is a 4-class webinar series for families, communities, and advocates to learn from leaders in the field about strengthening support for families and communities.  Led by PSI Founder Jane Honikman and other notables in the field of maternal mental health.  Learn more HERE.

The Seleni Institute’s Maternal Mental Health Intensive Course is a 16-hour CE-accredited training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, along with grief and loss.  Instruction includes diagnosis and treatment of perinatal distress and grief from miscarriage, stillbirth, and child loss.  This course is offered ONLINE and IN PERSON.

Maternal Mental Health 101 (offered periodically) is a FREE 90-minute webinar presented in partnership with Postpartum Support International (PSI).    Learn from the experts: Joy Burkhard, 202Mom Executive Director ; Wendy Davis, PSI Executive Director; and Birdie Gunyon Meyer, former President of PSI.  Learn more HERE.

Maternal Mental Health Online Certificate Course (February 2020) is an online webinar series presented in partnership with Postpartum Support International.  The Course includes eight live sessions, small group discussions, supplemental reading materials, 16 continuing education credits (where applicable), and a certificate of completion.  Learn more HERE.

Periodic webinars on specific topics (learn more HERE) along with an inventory of past webinars (learn more HERE).

Psychiatry Access Programs

Psychiatry Access Programs build capacity to address maternal mental health issues by:

  • providing psychiatric consultation to front-line providers, such as obstetricians and family physicians, to help them treat women experiencing maternal mental health disorders
  • connecting affected women with additional resources for recovery, including therapists and support groups
  • providing one-on-one psychiatric consultation to women with complex maternal mental health issues

Lifeline4Moms is providing programmatic guidance and coordination among the organizations implementing maternal psychiatric access lines, including program development and implementation assistance, training and workforce development, consultation, evaluation and opportunities for collaborations with other health care organizations and states working to integrate perinatal mental health efforts in perinatal care.

Download MMHLA’s Perinatal Psychiatry Access Program Fact Sheet.

These types of programs are patterned after successful psychiatry access programs for children and adolescents.  The National Network of Child Psychiatry Access Programs supports existing and emerging child psychiatry consultation programs and works to further national progress toward effective integration of mental health with primary care.

Legislation

In 2016, the United States Congress enacted the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.  This law provides funding, in the form of grants to the states, for programs addressing maternal mental health (MMH) conditions at the state level.  Read the entire text of the law.

Grant Process

The Health and Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, was charged with administering the grants funded through the 21st Century Cures Act.  In 2018, 30 states and the District of Columbia applied for these grants; seven states were each awarded 5-year grants (totaling $3.2 million for each state for the lifetime of the program).

Postpartum Support International offers a national Psychiatric Consult Line for medical professionals who have questions about the mental health care related to pregnant and postpartum patients and pre-conception planning.  Medical providers can request an appointment with highly-trained reproductive psychiatrists who are members of PSI.  Learn more HERE.

Lifeline4Moms is providing programmatic guidance and coordination among the organizations implementing maternal psychiatric access lines, including program development and implementation assistance, training and workforce development, consultation, evaluation and opportunities for collaborations with other health care organizations and states working to integrate perinatal mental health efforts in perinatal care.

The following states have (or are developing) psychiatry access programs.  States marked with (*) are HRSA grant recipients.

Psychiatry Fellowship Programs

Psychiatry fellowship programs are available at the following institutions / locations throughout the country, including:

Screening

While mental health issues are the MOST COMMON complications of pregnancy and childbirth —  affecting approximately 1 in 5 women during pregnancy or the first year after being pregnant – these illnesses are often undiagnosed and untreated.

A childbearing woman will see a healthcare provider an average of 25 times during a routine pregnancy and first year of baby’s life.  However, no medical provider is required to screen her for mental health issues, and medical professionals often cite lack of knowledge, reimbursement, time, and resources for recovery as barriers to discussing these illnesses or screening for them.

The following national level medical organizations and governing bodies have issued statements encouraging medical providers to screen women for maternal mental health (MMH) conditions during pregnancy and after giving birth:

Medicaid reimburses screening for maternal depression on a state-by-state basis; learn more.

MMHLA is committed to creating a Gold Standard for screening maternal mental health (MMH) conditions at regular intervals during pregnancy and throughout first year of baby’s life.

Walks, Runs, Climbs

Postpartum Support International hosts Climb Out of the Darkness each year.  Learn more HERE.

Several states host runs & walks to raise awareness about maternal mental health issues, including:

Please provide updates and additional information to info@mmhla.org.