Give New Mothers Battling Depression a Lifeline

Target: Tammy Baldwin, Chair of U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Goal: Invest in better care for pregnant women and new mothers suffering from depression and other mental health challenges.

Depression during and after pregnancy is a mental wellness crisis that afflicts countless women but that often receives little attention. Stigma, shame, and other factors often prevent expectant and new mothers from getting the help they need. A lack of specialized training in this growing area of concern, particularly in rural areas, worsens the problem. While states like Massachusetts have adopted programs meant to close these access gaps, critically underserved populations still lag behind on treatment options.

Many communities, such as Native American communities, emphasize pregnancy and post-natal care given by non-traditional providers like doulas or midwives. In some rural areas, these individuals may serve as the primary source of care. Yet these providers often lack the training or resources to address the complexities that arise from pregnancy and childbirth-related depression. Tragic statistics hint at the consequences. Indigenous people, for example, have a maternal mortality rate about twice the national average. And across the nation, mothers diagnosed with perinatal or post-partum depression are a staggering six times more likely to commit suicide.

Several states, including Montana (where up to one-quarter of new mothers are diagnosed with depression), have launched pilot programs designed to better train and equip doulas, midwives, and rural healthcare providers with the resources and knowledge necessary to address these serious types of depression. Sign the petition below to encourage investment at the national level.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Baldwin,

Maternal care deserts, a lack of national maternity leave standards, and a range of other factors have driven diagnoses of perinatal and post-partum depression up over 105 percent in just a decade’s time. Across the nation, new mothers are losing their lives to urgent mental health crises, with chronically underserved rural and minority populations suffering the most immense losses. A federal task force deployed to tackle this crisis has alerted Congress to the urgency and has recommended needed actions.

This task force served up a template based on the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms, which has spread to several other states. The program strengthens access and communication between rural healthcare providers and psychiatrists trained in these sensitive areas. Other promising programs have arisen around the country that enhance preparedness for non-traditional maternity care providers like midwives and doulas.

Please do not delay on analyzing and implementing the task force’s recommendations. Act now before another life is needlessly lost or another young person’s future irrevocably altered.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fotos Produzidas Pelo Senado


One Comment

  1. This was once a great country and America cared for its people. No more. The GOP took away women’s rights. They will take everything. Women are worth care. Women pay for their supposed care, what’s left of it. Women birth babies then work more than men to support the children, feed them, cloth them. Women do too much and now the GOP wants all women to have nothing except what their white husbands allow. There are no legal ways for women to get help. All women, not matter their culture, color, education, abilities, talents, and more must suffer under extremist orders. A true travesty.

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