Maternal mental health is an all-encompassing term referring to the emotional well-being of mothers before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and postpartum. With maternal mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum psychosis, mothers must receive sufficient reinforcement to mitigate the effects of such conditions.
In response to this epidemic, early this May, the Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health collaborated with George Washington University to generate a report, the Inaugural Maternal Mental Health State Report, that gives each state a grade based on their efforts to support mothers.
The grade is based on three categories:
- Providers and Programs
- Screening and Screening Reimbursement
- Insurance Coverage and Payment
In total, the three categories have 17 subcategories and each of these subcategories was assessed on a scale from 0 to 3 points As of May 12, 2023, 42 states received Ds and Fs, and the highest grade was a B-, awarded to California. Despite the necessity for maternal support through the government, it is evident that public policy fails to address this, leaving mothers vulnerable.
Unfortunately, these grades only assess states at a basic, preliminary level meaning that state legislatures are falling short of meeting even the most essential requirements for maternal support. Even if all states were awarded A grades, this assessment does not account for policies that incorporate HEDIS screenings and subsequent assessments for perinatal depression, supporting community-based organizations that provide maternal mental health services, the inclusion of maternal supports such as doulas and peer support, and the implementation of training programs to address implicit bias among healthcare providers.
Here at Vital Start Health, we provide maternal mental health support for women through all stages of their journey—from preconception to postpartum. Join us today so we can help you along your journey.