Minding Mental Health
The Presidential Initiative of Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG
Minding Mental Health is an education and awareness campaign aimed at improving the mental health of patients in the peripartum period and in later life.
About the Initiative
Dr. Hoskins has acted on her commitment by being a bold, trusted public face in support of normalizing how we talk about mental health conditions. While joining notable hosts, including BabyCenter, Postpartum Support International, and Postpartum Support International’s Mind the Gap Coalition, for well-regarded events featuring clinical experts and patient advocates, she has discussed why she has made mental health for patients and clinicians a priority during her year as ACOG president.
Below are programs, resources, and materials developed as part of ACOG’s Minding Mental Health initiative and Dr. Hoskins’s presidential tenure. Additional clinical and practice management resources will be added as they are developed throughout the year.
Frontline Voices is ACOG’s forum to help share and uplift members’ experiences and build community within obstetrics and gynecology professions. The relaunch of Frontline Voices as Frontline Voices: Minding Mental Health centers on raising awareness about mental health and reducing the stigma that surrounds it for both physicians and patients alike.
In her own contribution to ACOG Frontline Voices, Dr. Hoskins writes: “It is essential to teach our patients that feeling anxious or depressed is normal—and that we are receptive to hearing about and helping them address their emotional experiences.” Submit your own essay or other piece of creative writing to ACOG Frontline Voices: Minding Mental Health.
How I Incorporated Patients' Mental Health Care into Routine Practice
Physician Peer Support
A Little White Pill
Trying to Hold Up the Falling Sky
Programs and Resources
Access the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health patient safety bundle on perinatal mental health conditions.
ACOG is a member of the AMA's Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) Collaborative, a group dedicated to catalyzing effective and sustainable integration of behavioral and mental health care into physician practices. Our participation in the program is intended to help create solutions for obstetrician–gynecologists to have the resources they need to connect patients with mental health support.
In July, Dr. Hoskins joined the presidents of the fellow BHI Collaborative member organizations to publish a column in Health Affairs about why providing treatment of mental health conditions in the primary care setting is critical, how the BHI Collaborative can support physician practices in doing so, and the role of payers and federal and state policy makers in advancing progress on that front.
The authors wrote: “A holistic, evidence-based integrated approach within primary care settings that focuses on the well-being of the whole person through all developmental stages, including the implementation of behavioral health screening and service intensity placement tools (such as the Child and Adolescent Service Intensity Instrument) that are standardized and normalized, can help individuals receive treatment earlier and at the right level of care.”
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common complications that occur in pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery. In order to help obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care professionals address perinatal mental health conditions, ACOG is sharing the Lifeline for Moms Perinatal Mental Health Tool Kit, developed by the UMass Chan Medical School and reviewed by members of ACOG’s Maternal Mental Health Expert Work Group.
This tool kit provides actionable information, algorithms, and clinical pearls to support detection, assessment, and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Access the tool kit, which includes a summary of perinatal health conditions; information about screening tools; algorithms for assessment and treatment of perinatal mental health conditions; and additional resources for health care professionals, patients, and families.
The tool kit also features the Lifeline for Moms Guide for Integrating Mental Health Care into Obstetric Practice. This guide provides strategies for operationalizing mental health screening, assessment, referral, monitoring, and follow-up through a step-by-step process that follows three phrases: plan, implement, sustain. With a focus on communication throughout, this guide’s common core elements can be tailored for each unique practice setting, allowing clinicians to address perinatal mental health in their patients in the way that best suits their practice.
Each year, ACOG invites partners to join us in observing Maternal Health Awareness Day on January 23. As part of this year’s theme of Know Why, ACOG will raise awareness of perinatal mental health as the leading cause of maternal deaths identified by maternal mortality review committees and the CDC.
In recently released data from the CDC, mental health conditions were reported as the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths among white, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native populations. ACOG will raise awareness about perinatal mental health; share resources for patients; and highlight clinician resources aimed at improving patient screening, diagnosis, and referral.
ACOG is a trusted source for people seeking information about their own health care, including their mental health, and for clinicians who want to refer their patients to reputable, evidence-based materials. Our patient education website has a variety of resources developed by our clinical experts and covering mental health topics that matter most to patients during pregnancy, while postpartum, and throughout their lives:
- What I Tell My Pregnant and Postpartum Patients about Depression and Anxiety (Expert View)
- Anxiety and Pregnancy: Learning the Symptoms and Finding Help (Infographic)
- Anxiety and Pregnancy (FAQ)
- Depression during Pregnancy (FAQ)
- Postpartum Depression (FAQ)
- Mental Health Disorders (FAQ)
Explore all the mental health resources for patients to find answers to questions about a range of topics related to mental health and to hear from ACOG’s experts.