LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today in California, where one in eight of U.S. births occur, the Task Force on the Status of Maternal Mental Health Care released its findings and recommendations. Maternal mental health disorders occur during pregnancy and the postpartum period and include depression, various forms of anxiety and the much more rare but serious, postpartum psychosis.  These disorders impact up to one in five women, yet often go undiagnosed and untreated leaving mothers and families to suffer in silence and shame.  

«There is no doubt we have reached a tipping point. Clinical leaders, health care professionals and policy makers know these conditions have biological and environmental influences that when left untreated have devastating negative impacts on women, infants and their families,» said Joy Burkhard, Founder and Executive Director of 2020 Mom, the non-profit which commissioned and hosted the Task Force.

Chief among the recommendations, the Task Force declared Ob/Gyns as the «home base» for screening, detection and treatment of maternal mental health disorders.

«Since women should be assessed for mental health risk and challenges prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, Ob/Gyns are in the best position to educate, screen and provide women with a menu of treatment options, said Laura Sirott, MD, Task Force Member and Chair of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology District IX (California).

Task Force recognized however that Ob/Gyns can’t do this alone, and will need other stakeholders help address treatment shortages and other needs.

Other highlights of the Task Force’s report include:

  • Though Ob/Gyns are urged to become the «Home Base,» The Task Force also calls for a «No Wrong Door» approach to education and screening– noting all clinicians working with pregnant women or those in the postpartum period must be in the position to detect these disorders.
  • Measurement of depression and anxiety screening rates must occur and results reported publicly to drive improvement in diagnosis and treatment rates. Therefore, organizations like the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the National Quality Forum (NQF) are urged to create and adopt national measures through current measurement structures such as the Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).
  • Mental health treatment shortages must be addressed before Ob/Gyn screening can be adopted widely, including increasing access to psychiatrists with special interest and training in maternal mental health (often referred to as «reproductive psychiatrists»).  Provider-to-Provider consult programs such as tele-psychiatry programs should be tested and adopted by the state for access to all Ob/Gyns and beginning in 2021.   
  • Health insurance companies are urged to integrate mental health into their own medical provider and benefit contracts so full integration through the delivery system can follow.
  • Steps that all stakeholders can take are outlined by the Task Force including hospitals, insurance companies, clinical trade associations, employers and others. These detailed recommendations provide the missing framework for all stakeholders to take action and make a difference.

In order to monitor progress toward meeting the goals of seeing that all women are screened for maternal mental health disorders by the year 2025, the Task Force has formed an Implementation Steering Committee that will monitor the progress of change including the progress of all stakeholder groups.

About the Task Force
The California Task Force on the Status of Maternal Mental Health Care («Task Force») was formed by the urging of the legislature in 2015 through Assembly Concurrent Resolution 148, and was privately funded by The California Endowment and California Health Care Foundation. The Task Force was made up of roughly 20 representatives from various stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurers, state agencies and more. The effort was led by the Los Angeles based non-profit organization, 2020 Mom. Related Links: http://www.2020mom.org/ca-task-force-recommendations

About 2020 Mom
2020 Mom is advancing maternal mental health by providing stakeholders with specific action steps, toolkits and resources.  2020 Mom also hosts the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health, a coalition of multiple non-profit organizations addressing maternal mental health.

Media Contact:     
Joy Burkhard
[email protected] 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-largest-state-in-the-nation-issues-strategic-plan-for-maternal-mental-health-300441654.html

SOURCE 2020 Mom