Mental health conditions are among the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and suicide and overdose are among the leading causes of death for postpartum individuals.
These deaths are preventable and conditions treatable. Due to stigma and other barriers to care, however, many of those impacted never receive needed treatment.
This has negative long-term consequences not only for the parent, but also for their child and families. Research has found that parental mental health and substance use disorders increase children’s risk for early symptoms of behavioral problems and subsequent substance use. Addressing parental mental health and substance use is critical both for reducing the risk of substance use and supporting healthy child development more broadly.
The Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act would scale up an existing Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) screening and treatment program, broadening support from 7 to 30 states and adding trainings on trauma-informed care, biases, and culturally and linguistically appropriate services. It would also codify the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, a national 24/7 voice and text program operated by licensed health care professionals trained on helping pregnant or postpartum individuals and family members affected by maternal mental health and substance use disorders.
Tell your members of Congress to support the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act (S. 3824/H.R. 7073) to ensure pregnant and postpartum people, as well as their families, receive critical support.