DECEMBER NEWSLETTER
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
ANNOUNCES NEW FOCUS ON MATERNAL HEALTH
On December 3, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new plan and partnership to address maternal mortality. The plan includes a bold goal of reducing the U.S. maternal mortality rate by 50% by 2025. Key HHS offices involved include the Surgeon General's office and the Office On Women's Health.

Acknowledges the factors contributing to the high US maternal mortality rate and provides an action plan to address risk factors before and during pregnancy, improve the quality of and access to maternity and postpartum care, and support research to fill gaps in current evidence.

Provides a call to action by the U.S. Surgeon General with guidance on improving maternal health at all levels: women and families; states, tribes, and local communities; health-care professionals and systems; employers, payors, researchers,
and innovators.

Provides a new Maternal Health section on Womenshealth.gov. to highlight the HHS Action Plan, the Surgeon General's Call to Action, and two OWH competitions to address maternal health disparities. 
While we are pleased that mental health recommendations are included in the Action Plan, we will continue to advocate for a more comprehensive approach to maternal mental health issues, which are the MOST COMMON complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting 1 in 5 new mothers each year.
Interested in learning more?
HERE is the announcement from HHS.
HERE are thoughts from sister organization 2020Mom.
IMPROVE RURAL POSTPARTUM MENTAL HEALTH
In June, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy announced its Cross-Sectional Innovation to Improve Rural Mental Health Challenge. Congratulations to the winners!
Program Proposal Winners $50,000 each
St. Peter's Health Maternal Mental Health Program from St. Peter's Health in Helena, Montana

Their solution focuses on identifying at-risk individuals through screening for alcohol, substance use, depression, anxiety, and social determinants of health to connect women to resources and appropriate care early in pregnancy. 

Digital Health Coaching to Address Postpartum Depression in Central Alabama from Pack Health in Birmingham, Alabama

Their solution will build out an existing digital health coaching platform which combines person-to-person engagement with a National Health and Wellness Board Certified Health Advisor, along with digital delivery of evidence-based content via text, email, or mobile application, based on the participant's access and preference.


Learn more about the challenge and the winning programs HERE.
Success Story Winners
$25,000 each
The Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP) for Moms that serves all of Massachusetts

The program provides education, consultation, and resources and referrals to build the capacity of frontline medical providers to address perinatal mental health and substance use disorders, and has enrolled 76% of obstetric practices in the State.

The Postpartum Resource Group from Flathead County, Montana

The group hosts several programs including in-person support groups, online peer support forums, a "village network," and a scholarship program.

The Art Heals: Wellness Workshops for Postpartum Women program from the Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties of Oregon

This partnership between Samaritan Health Services, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, Stahlbush Island Farms, Mind Body Medicine, and Oregon State University offers acrylic painting, nutritional, and mindfulness classes for rural postpartum moms.
EXTEND MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR NEW MOTHERS
In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 4996, The Helping MOMS Act, to allow states to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60
days to a full year postpartum. It is now time for the Senate to do the same. Extending Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum would ensure that women have access to comprehensive health care services throughout the critical postpartum period, which can mean the difference between life and death for many women.
Many organizations that support the health of women and children are advocating for HR 4996, including MMHLA sister organizations 2020Mom and Postpartum Support International, and the following national organizations:
  • American College of Nurse Midwives
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Medical Association
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
  • Black Mamas Matter Alliance
  • Black Women's Health Imperative
  • Blue Cross / Blue Shield Association
  • Every Mother Counts
  • Families USA
  • Maternal Mental Health NOW
  • Marce of North America
  • March for Moms
  • March of Dimes
  • Medicaid Health Plans of America
  • Mental Health America
  • MomCongress
  • Moms Rising
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Birth Equity Collaborative
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Prenatal Task Force
  • North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Postpartum Health Alliance
  • Postpartum Support International
  • Shades of Blue Project
  • Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • United States Lactation Consultant Association
  • Well Being Trust
  • WomenHeart
  • Zero to Three

These organizations, along with scores of other like-minded organizations, have signed on to letters to Senate leadership encouraging extending Medicaid for a full year postpartum for eligible women. Join the call for action by clicking HERE.
Maternal mortality should be a 'never' event.
Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Working with Policy Makers to Address Maternal Mental Health Challenges
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.