Maternal Mental Health Crisis
Maternal mental health is in the national news following three tragedies that occurred over the last six months in which mothers have taken the lives of their children. All three mothers had given birth within the last year; all three were reportedly struggling with mental health conditions; and now all three are facing murder charges.
Our hearts go out to these families, and any others who are impacted by these types of heartbreaking losses.
These tragedies illustrate the maternal mental health crisis in our country, and they are a reminder of the systemic changes needed to prevent tragedies like these. In turn, we must take steps to ensure that all healthcare and community-based providers who interact with childbearing individuals are trained to educate, screen, and treat their patients and clients for maternal mental health conditions, and that they are easily and adequately reimbursed for providing these services.
We must ensure that all individuals and their families, are educated about the various mental health conditions that can impact them before, during and following pregnancy, and we must ensure that those impacted by maternal mental health conditions have access to appropriate care.
We must further ensure that laws address prevention and treatment, not punishment, for women experiencing postpartum psychosis.
Last but not least, we must ensure that screening tools address the wide range of maternal mental health conditions and use language that is culturally - and linguistically appropriate.