On Tuesday September 19th, the ACA Government Affairs team attended a Congressional Briefing: Saving and Supporting Moms, sponsored by Mom Congress, to address the growing crisis of maternal mortality and maternal mental health across the country. Representatives Robin Kelly and Ashley Hinson provided opening remarks on what Congress is doing to implement common-sense policies and resources for mothers and families.
In America, there is no federal law requiring paid family and maternal leave. As such, Ben Gitis, Associate Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center Economic Policy Program, spoke at the briefing about the burdens this has on the mental health of mothers and families. In addition, Lauren Hipp, National Director of MomsRising, discussed the need for affordable and quality childcare. Too often, mothers and families must decide between choosing to work or paying exorbitant childcare. The absence of a nationally paid family and maternal leave and affordable childcare are financial stressors that negatively affect the mental health of mothers and families.
Shanna Cox, Associate Director in the Division of Reproductive Health with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), highlighted new data regarding maternal mortality. Shanna and the CDC are dedicated to increasing data collection and expanding definitions to better understand maternal mortality, especially for women of color.
Kay Matthews, founder of the Shades of Blue Project, highlighted how major events, such as COVID-19 and the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, have increased the number of maternal mental health services requests. She urged that as a behavioral health provider, you lead a community, and it is important to uplift those voices and normalize experiences of mothers.
As a counselor, let your voice be heard! Please visit our Take Action page and write to your legislators asking to support the passage of the Moms Matter Act (S.1602/H.R.3312). This bill would invest in mental and behavioral health services for moms living with mental health disorders or SUD, in addition to investing in diversifying the maternal mental health care workforce.
For more information or any questions, please contact the ACA Government Affairs team at firstname.lastname@example.org.