Report: Most states don’t have quality maternal mental health services

BOSTON — As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, a lot of moms are trying to bring awareness to the need for postpartum support like Paid Leave and mental health care instead of just getting gifts like flowers.

A new report shows the U.S. is failing mothers in mental health support.

“After my first child, it was kind of startling and shocking how little support there was for women after they have the baby,” said Rachel Glenister, a mom of two in Walpole with a third baby on the way.

Most new mothers have a physical checkup 6 weeks postpartum, but after that, there’s very little support for maternal mental health.

So, many moms hope to bring awareness to this issue as Mother’s Day approaches.

“I actually got postpartum rage, which isn’t talked about and I’m not an angry person, but I think the sleep deprivation got to me,” said Glenister.

A new report card by the Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health, or 2020 Mom, shows most states in the U.S. received a ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade for maternal mental health care.

“There’s this expectation that you’re supposed to do it all, so if you reach out for help like you failed as a mother,” said Jessie Colbert with Mass PPD Fund.

Mass PPD Fund is a local group trying to expand resources for new moms.

Colbert says many moms experience perinatal mood disorders after having a baby.

The problem, she says, is about 75% of moms who need help never get the care they need.

“Once it’s identified, which is a challenge in and of itself, it’s really not effective for a doctor to say, okay here’s a list of providers, that may not be up to date, those people may not speak your language, may not take your insurance, so there are some really promising models that involve a little more hand-holding,” said Colbert.

Colbert says Massachusetts is one of the better states trying to help moms with Paid Family Medical Leave and the state has a Commission on Postpartum Depression.

Massachusetts was listed as a top state in the new national report card, but it still only earned a C-.

“If we can share our stories, if we can be real about what’s needed, then parenthood can be a really different experience,” said Colbert.

Mass PPD Fund is also trying to get support for the Moms Matter Act, a bill in Massachusetts that would expand mental health resources for new moms.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can also call the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at: 1-833-943-5746 (1-833-9-HELP4MOMS)

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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