Senator Hassan speaks with medical providers and advocates at Dartmouth Health
MANCHESTER – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) this morning hosted a roundtable discussion with medical providers and advocates at Dartmouth Health to discuss the Senator’s recent work to expand access to maternal mental health care. They also discussed what additional action Congress can take to support mothers’ physical and mental well-being, as well as what advocates are working for on the state level.
Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill to improve mental health for new mothers and address the high rate of maternal suicide became law at the end of last month. The TRIUMPH for New Moms Act creates a federal taskforce and national strategy to improve maternal mental health outcomes and expand mental health resources for new mothers.
“[Mothers] face obviously immense mental health challenges before giving birth, they have to be properly cared for during the birth process, but then postpartum months and years can take their toll as well,” said Senator Hassan during today’s discussion. “So it's important that moms have not only caregivers and health care professionals who understand that, but we really do everything we can to support all of you in this work so that the resources are there and the expertise is there and we have a strategy not only in New Hampshire but nationally....Last year, I worked together with Senator Tom Tillis from North Carolina to introduce the bipartisan TRIUMPH for New Moms Act, and the president recently signed that bill into law. It takes really long overdue steps to coordinate a federal response to address postpartum depression and anxiety as well as what is a devastating rate of maternal suicide.”
“Our moms are in crisis, here in this state and across the country…The ER cannot be the only option for moms in crisis,” said Heather Martin, Dartmouth Health Patient Advocate. “I am extremely hopeful with the passage of the TRIUMPH for New Moms Act that we can get there. We have the momentum.”
The health care providers and patient advocates shared with Senator Hassan the need to improve maternal and family leave, as well as the need for more flexibility in treatment options. They also discussed the work of the Statewide Rapid Response Team for maternal health crises and how to improve connections to resources.
In addition, a measure Senator Hassan supported that enables states across the country to permanently provide a full year of postpartum coverage for mothers on Medicaid also recently became law. The New Hampshire legislature is currently considering a bill to do this, which would make a major difference for moms in New Hampshire who are struggling to afford their postpartum care.
“The support of the TRIUMPH Act, understanding more about the needs, extending Medicaid to the full year is super important, and also mental health resources will go a long way towards supporting where we really need it most,” said Maggie Minnock, Executive Director of Northern New England Perinatal Quality Improvement Network.
Additional participants in the discussion included Maria Padin, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics / Southern Region; Joanne Conroy, MD, President & CEO, Dartmouth Health and Dartmouth Hitchcock; Jessica LaChance, Director of Rapid Response Teams, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester; Kari Sanborn, Director of Emergency & Interim Care Services, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester; Susan Stearns, Executive Director of NAMI New Hampshire; MacKenzie Nicholson, Senior Director, Moms Rising; and Nancy Glynn, Campaign Director, Moms Rising.
Granite Staters experiencing mental health crises can get immediate support by calling or texting 9-8-8, or visiting nh988.com.