Washington, DC—President Thomas Gellhaus, MD of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), along with the March of Dimes and the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health [NCMMH] released the following statement regarding this week's approval of mental health reform legislation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
"Earlier this week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved mental health reform legislation to improve mental health services for those in need. However, the Committee missed an important opportunity to address a key bipartisan women's health need -- the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women. Maternal depression affects one in seven families in the United States, making it one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
"As organizations dedicated to maternal and child health, we are disappointed that the Committee did not address a key bipartisan women's health issue -- the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women.
"Unidentified and untreated, maternal depression can have devastating effects on women, infants, and families. Maternal suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, exceeding both hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders. Congress' work to address mental health is not complete without improving access to care for pregnant and postpartum women experiencing depression.
"The Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act (H.R. 3235/S. 2311), sponsored by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), was included in the Senate mental health reform package. This bipartisan legislation would close treatment gaps and improve provider and public awareness regarding resources in their communities, giving states the flexibility to implement programs that address their needs.
"We applaud the cosponsors on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tim Murphy (R-PA), David Loebsack (D-IA), and Diana DeGette (D-CO). We urge these Members and others to ensure that maternal mental health is fully included in this mental health bill.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org
About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
The National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health [NCMMH] unites members from organizations committed to addressing maternal mental health by engaging stakeholders, raising awareness, and advocating for change in policies and practices to ensure all mothers receive the help they need so they and their families can thrive. NCMMH is a project of 2020 Mom. 2020 Mom's mission is to close gaps in maternal mental health care through education, advocacy, and collaboration. 2020 Mom is a 501(c)(3). mmhcoalition.com