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Rep. Kim supports legislation to screen and treat maternal mental health and substance abuse

U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39) joined Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health (MMH) and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Act of 2022 to improve outcomes for the screening and treatment of maternal mental health and substance use disorders.

This bipartisan bill would support maternal mental health by:

  • Reauthorizing and improving Maternal Mental Health Screening and Treatment grants;
  • Allowing states to create and improve programs tailored for maternal health and substance use disorders; and,
  • Creating a permanent national 24/7 voice and text maternal mental health and substance use hotline monitored by trained professionals.

The bill is co-led by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Yvette Clarke (NY-09). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The most common complication of pregnancy is a mental health condition, and suicide and overdose are leading causes of death for postpartum women. As many as 75% of those impacted never receive treatment, and left untreated, these issues cost our health care system, workforce and economy an estimated $14.2 billion each year, or $32,000 per mother-infant pair. Unfortunately, the number of pregnant or postpartum patients struggling with these symptoms has tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a mother of four and a new grandmother, I understand the importance of maternal mental health and how challenging early motherhood can be. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added more stress and uncertainty on moms and their families,” said Kim. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan, bicameral effort to provide cost-effective, targeted investments that build on the success of existing mental health programs to help moms that need it most. When mom and baby thrive, so do our communities.”

“The health and success of families begins with our moms and right now, we are leaving too many without the care and support they need,” Clark said. “The Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act builds on the achievements we’ve already made to address this mental health crisis by providing permanent resources to every mom across the country and ensuring moms are getting the care they need and deserve. With this legislation, no mom will be forced to suffer alone.”

“MMHLA applauds the Congressional leaders who have sponsored Into the Light, which will provide much-needed resources to pregnant and postpartum people suffering mental health conditions during and following pregnancy,” said Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance (MMHLA) Executive Director Adrienne Griffen. “The hotline will ensure that support and information is available anytime day or night, and the additional funding for grants will increase four-fold the number of states able to implement proven programs to treat maternal mental health conditions. We must do all we can to address these illnesses so that new parents and their infants get off to the best start possible.”

The Into the Light Act for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act is endorsed by 120+ organizations. Find the full list here.

The article above was released by the office of U.S. Representative Young Kim.