The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD), one of the state’s top advocates for behavioral health policy reform, continues to support new developments at the federal and state level.
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More health leaders are acknowledging the key link between maternal mental and physical health. According to MHAMD, 15-20% of women develop postpartum depression after delivery. MHAMD encourages mothers experiencing symptoms to use the new federal National Maternal Mental Health Hotline. Located within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the hotline provides free, confidential support and resources to callers in English and Spanish.
On June 22nd, the US House of Representatives passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act. One of its provisions is the TRIUMPH for New Moms Act, which establishes a task force within the US Department of Health and Human Services. This task force would research the best practices for preventing, diagnosing, and treating maternal mental health disparities. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
“This is a significant step forward in maternal mental health,” MHAMD said in a statement about the act.
At the state level, MHAMD has its own Healthy New Moms program, which provides support for mothers affected by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
MHAMD also advocated for several state-level behavioral health reforms during the 2022 Legislative Session. Some items successfully passed the General Assembly, including funding to support the implementation of 988 Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services and the establishment of the Maryland Suicide Fatality Review Committee.
However, other measures failed to pass, including MHAMD’s top priority, the Behavioral Health System Modernization Act. The bill would have expanded Maryland’s network of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and increased reimbursement for certified peer recovery specialists. It also aimed to reduce reliance on law enforcement and emergency department utilization by ensuring stable funding for crisis response facilities and mobile crisis teams. The bill ultimately failed, despite being amended to simplify its provisions. MHAMD encouraged stakeholders to stay updated on its future policy priorities.