ADVOCACY AND POLICY UPDATES
ADVOCACY BASICS
THE BOTTOM LINE:
ADVOCACY IS EDUCATION
ADVOCACY & LOBBYING
THE BOTTOM LINE:
LOBBYING IS NOT DIRTY WORK
LEARN MORE ABOUT ADVOCACY & LOBBYING

FEBRUARY 18 (1-2 PM EST)

Join MMHLA and the March of Dimes
for this 1-hour introductory webinar
on advocacy and lobbying.


This 1-page Fact Sheet has
additional relevant information
about advocacy and lobbying.
FY2021 FEDERAL POLICY SUMMARY
The FY2021 federal budget included several federal policy "wins" for maternal mental health, including:

  • MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE. Congress appropriated $3 million in new funding for a national maternal mental health hotline to be staffed 24/7 by qualified counselors. The hotline will most likely be a competitive grant administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). MMHLA will provide more information as it becomes available.

  • FUNDING FOR STATE PROGRAMS. Congress provided $5 million to continue providing HRSA grants to 7 states under the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act of 2018. These 7 states -- Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- will each receive a total of $3.2 million over the 5-year grant period (2019-2023). No new funding was provided to expand this program for other states.

  • REPORT FROM HHS.  Congress reminded the Department of Health and Human Services that HHS to report on the roles of its agencies in addressing gaps in maternal mental health.

  • MILITARY MOTHERS MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT ACT. The U.S. Comptroller General shall conduct a study on prenatal and postpartum mental health conditions among members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.

  • TRICARE COVERAGE FOR DOULAS SUPPORT ACT. The Secretary of Defense shall commence carrying out a demonstration project designed to evaluate the cost, quality of care, and impact on maternal and fetal outcomes of using extra-medical maternal health providers (doulas and lactation consultants) under the TRICARE program to determine the appropriateness of making coverage of such providers under the TRICARE program permanent. 

Download a summary of these FY2021 legislative "wins" (including links to legislative language) HERE.
FY2022 FEDERAL POLICY AGENDA
MMHLA's legislative priorities for FY2022 include:

MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE. Advocating for making the hotline permanent and increasing funding to ensure it is successfully established and implemented so that it can provide equitable access to anyone seeking information about and resources for addressing MMH.

FUNDING FOR STATE PROGRAMS. Advocating to reauthorize and expand federal grants to states to create programs addressing MMH.

INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE. Supporting sister organization 2020Mom in advocating for an inter-agency task force within the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that agencies are addressing MMH together.
In addition, MMHLA will support legislation that:

FOCUSES ON THE HEALTH, ESPECIALLY THE MENTAL HEALTH, OF MOTHERS. Examples include extending pregnancy-related Medicaid from 60 days to a full year postpartum and supporting the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, composed of several bills to address the maternal health of women of color and women who are medically underserved.

ADDRESSES DISPARITIES AND INEQUITIES IN MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTHCARE. All mothers and babies deserve equitable access to high quality affordable healthcare, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or geography. MMHLA will seek out and support opportunities to address these inequities.
MATERNAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY
Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez introduced a resolution to designate Maternal Health Awareness Day. Read the text of the resolution HERE.
For more information about MMHLA's legislative agenda,
contact Jamie Belsito, MMHLA's Policy Director.
"All advocacy, at its core, is an exercise in empathy."
Samantha Powers, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Working with Policymakers to Address Maternal Mental Health Conditions
MMHLA -- founded in 2018 -- is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 non-profit organization
dedicated to promoting the mental health of childbearing women in the United States
by advocating for universal education, screening, referral, and treatment
of postpartum depression and related maternal mental health (MMH) conditions.

Our vision is that all childbearing women in the United States will be educated about and screened for maternal mental health conditions and have access to resources for recovery.