Legislation Introduced During National Suicide Prevention Month
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation today to improve maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including working to address postpartum depression and anxiety, and maternal suicide – which is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States.
“Mothers too often face immense mental health challenges before and after giving birth, and new moms need more support to help them manage and overcome these health concerns,” Senator Hassan said. “Our bipartisan bill would take long overdue steps to coordinate a federal response to address postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as the devastating rate of maternal suicides. I will continue to work with Senator Tillis and my colleagues across the aisle to get pregnant and postpartum mothers the resources that they need take care of themselves and their babies.”
The bipartisan Taskforce Recommending Improvements for Unaddressed Mental Perinatal & Postpartum Health (TRIUMPH) for New Moms Act of 2021 would create a federal taskforce and national strategy to improve maternal mental health outcomes and expand mental health resources for new mothers by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with states to increase mental health prevention and treatment services for new and expectant moms, as well as identify and report on best practices to better support new mothers with mental health challenges.
Granite Staters voiced their support for the bipartisan TRIUMPH for New Moms Act:
"As a nurse-midwife who provides psychiatric care to pregnant and postpartum women, this bill would allow those of us who treat these women to improve our understanding of the scope and effects of maternal mental health challenges. With greater knowledge and the ability to align our resources, we can synthesize the information into better practices, resulting in more positive outcomes for women, their infants, and their families. The mental health of mothers affects everyone, and significant psychiatric illness is associated with worse physical and mental health outcomes for her and children through their lives. Treating mothers allows us to change the outcomes now, and for future generations,” said Meg Stringer CNM, APRNN of Epping, NH.
“I experienced a stillbirth. I developed PTSD, Anxiety, Depression and Psychosis. I suffered from severe anxiety and depression during subsequent pregnancies and for many years outside of pregnancy and postpartum period. A federal strategic plan would be significant in identifying gaps in research, identifying high risk populations and the related trauma will in turn lead to an increase in positive and healthy births for more babies, mothers, and families,” said Jessica Cote of Weare, NH.
“My family and I have been directly affected by untreated maternal mental health disorders. My sister died by suicide 12 years ago after suffering from postpartum psychosis. if she received the proper help from specialized providers she might still be with us today,” said Heather Martin of Salem, NH.
Senator Hassan is leading efforts to improve maternal and newborn health care in New Hampshire and across the country. In 2018, bipartisan legislation was signed into law that Senator Hassan cosponsored to help reduce shortages in maternity care by identifying areas lacking maternal health professionals and incentivizing providers to practice in these underserved communities. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Hassan also introduced two bipartisan bills to increase maternal vaccination rates and ensure that these vaccines are free of cost for Medicaid enrollees. Additionally, Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Hassan introduced the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill to help save lives and improve the health of newborn babies by providing federal funding for comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests for conditions such as critical congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and hearing loss. And in August, Senator Hassan cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the United States’ efforts to help end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in the developing world.