Nationwide, as many as 1 in 5 pregnant or postpartum women are affected by a maternal mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or a substance use disorder 

The Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022 will reauthorize and expand maternal mental health screening and treatment grants

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA-5) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022, legislation to reauthorize and expand a grant program to screen and treat maternal mental health and substance use disorders. The reauthorization would create, improve, and/or enhance state programs for better screening and treatment. This federal program was originally created through Clark’s Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, which was signed into law in 2016. 

The legislation is co-led by Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03), Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26), Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09) and Young Kim (R-CA-39), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“The health and success of families begins with our moms, and we are leaving too many without the care and support they need. Despite incredibly high rates of mental health issues during pregnancy, 75% of mothers never get treatment – that ends now,” Assistant Speaker Clark said. “The Into the Light Act provides permanent mental health resources to moms across the country, from a 24/7 voice and text hotline to improved screening and treatment programs. Passing this legislation is an important step toward ensuring that no mom will suffer alone.”

“It’s staggering to know that about 800,000 new moms in the U.S. each year experience a maternity-related mental health issue. As co-founder of the bipartisan Maternity Care Caucus, we worked to combat this issue in 2020 by advancing the first-ever Maternal Mental Health Hotline to provide 24-hour a day voice and text support to those in a mental health crisis. That’s why I’m pleased to support this critical legislation which will build upon those efforts and further enhance access to mental health resources and screenings for moms across the country,” Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler said.

“Having practiced medicine for nearly three decades, I witnessed the joy and toll of pregnancy on mothers. It is important that we establish simple steps to ensure mothers are able to receive not only the physical health care they need, but also mental health care. This legislation will help provide solutions and access to mental health resources for mothers who are facing postpartum depression,” said Congressman Burgess. 

“One in five women/mothers in California struggle with mental health challenges while pregnant or after giving birth, making it one of the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Mental and emotional support and access to mental health care for women/mothers has been long overlooked, yet is critical to the overall health of both women/mothers and their newborns. That’s why I’m proud to join Assistant Speaker Clark in introducing the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health Act, which would allow providers to expand comprehensive behavioral health screening and treatment for pregnant and postpartum women/mothers people in California and throughout the country. We must do more to support moms who are coping with postpartum depression and other maternal mental illnesses.”

“For the sacred gift of life that it brings, pregnancy can be a precious and blessed time in the lives of mothers who are experiencing it. Tragically though, pregnancy also carries countless dangers to both mothers and their children that can persist long past birth,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “This legislation is not only a necessary step towards providing new and expecting mothers and their children with the resources they need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but it reaffirms our commitment to support mothers through whatever difficulties they may face. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in this noble pursuit.”

“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 Congresswoman 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.” 

“Maternal mental health conditions are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth and have only been exacerbated by the stress and isolation that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Into the Light Act will reauthorize and expand a grant program to screen and treat maternal mental health and substance use disorders. It will also codify the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, which is a national 24/7 voice and text program that is operated by licensed health care professionals and provides resources to pregnant and postpartum women to address their mental health and substance use disorder challenges. I will always serve as a fierce advocate for women across the country and will fight to ensure that every mother has access to critical resources to stay healthy regardless of race or socioeconomic status.”

“Pregnancy and new motherhood can be wonderful and exciting times in a woman’s life, however they can also be stressful and demanding, resulting in both physical and mental challenges. I am proud to join my colleagues to reauthorize and expand these programs to address maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders. I am hopeful that by providing an immediate place to turn with the maternal mental health hotline and providing the resources for state programs to identify and treat these issues, better outcomes for both mothers and their babies can be realized,” Senator Capito said.

“Every new mother deserves access to mental health care resources, but sadly, we are leaving too many moms behind, often women of color,” said Senator Baldwin. “This bicameral, bipartisan legislation will help ensure that regardless of where a new mother lives in Wisconsin or America, they have the resources they need to address their mental health and substance use disorder challenges, and can go on to lead healthy lives.”

“Mothers are the strength in so many families and they deserve our support when it comes to mental health,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “While pregnancy is one of the great blessings in life, many women struggle during pregnancy and postpartum can lead to significant challenges both mentally and physically. This legislation is focused on supporting mothers by reauthorizing and expanding programs to support maternal mental health and address substance use disorders. I’m committed to supporting mothers so they can better support their babies.”

Today, 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, costing our health care system, workforce, and economy an estimated $14.2 billion each year or $32,000 per mother-infant pair, and resulting in potential negative long-term consequences for the health and well-being of parents, infants, and families. The pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis, tripling the number of pregnant or postpartum women struggling with these conditions. 

The Into the Light Act for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act will take commonsense steps to scale up the existing screening and treatment program based on feedback from states, broaden the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) support from 7 to 30 state programs, and add trainings on trauma-informed care, biases, and culturally and linguistically appropriate services to bridge gaps for health equity. It will also codify the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, which is a national 24/7 voice and text program that is operated by licensed health care professionals who are trained on helping pregnant or postpartum women and family members affected by maternal mental health and substance use disorders.

“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+): Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, &Mother, 2020 Mom, Amara Acupuncture, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Anna Maling, LGPC private practice, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Ashley Rideout LCSW, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Baby Caravan, Best of You, LLC, Bethesda Women's Mental Health Center, Black Women's Health Imperative, Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, Chamber of Mothers, Cherished Mom, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), Children's Home Society of Florida, Collaborative Family Healthcare Association, Daniel N. Sacks MD PA, Danielle Cotter LLC, DC Metro Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, Dear Sunday Motherhood, Eclectic DC, EmmaWell, Every Mother Counts, Feed Your Mental LLC, Gemma, Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice, Hand to Hold, HealthyWomen, Heidi Cox Psychology PLLC, Heidi Koss, MA, LMHC, PLLC, Hope for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation, International OCD Foundation, International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, Ivy Counseling & Wellness Services, LLC, Kayce Hodos, LPC, Komae, LA Best Babies Network, Laurel Hicks LLC, Liberation-Based Therapy, Life Beyond the Vines, Lifeline for Families Center at the UMass Chan Medical School, Lifeline for Moms Program at the UMass Chan Medical School, Live Life Unlimited Counseling, Love Makes a Family LLC, Major Care, Mammha, Marce of North American Perinatal Mental Health Society, March for Moms, March of Dimes, Maternal and Perinatal Services, LLC, Maternal Mental Health NOW, Medical University of South Carolina, Mental Health America, Mental Health America of Kentucky, Mental Health America of Ohio, mission:motherhood, MomsRising, National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, National Association for Rural Mental Health, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National League for Nursing, National Partnership for Women & Families, Niivana Telehealth, North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology (NASPOG), Not Safe For Mom Group (NSFMG), Nurtured Well, LLC, Parent Child Center of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services, Parents After Childbirth Education (PACE), PCBH Strategies, LLC, Pediatrics, Perigee Fund, Perinatal Support Washington, Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Postpartum Support International, Postpartum Support International - Alaska, Postpartum Support International - Arkansas, Postpartum Support International - Colorado, Postpartum Support International - Delaware, Postpartum Support International - Louisiana, Postpartum Support International - Massachusetts, Postpartum Support International - New Jersey, Postpartum Support International - New York, Postpartum Support International - North Carolina, Postpartum Support International - Pennsylvania, Postpartum Support International - South Carolina, Postpartum Support Virginia, PRISM for Moms, Psychotherapy Action Network, Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT), Return to Zero: HOPE, Rhode Island Maternal Psychiatry Resource Network (RI MomsPRN) Program, Run Tell Mom, Saagara, PLLC, Sarah Briggs and Associates, Shades Of Blue Project, SMART Recovery, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society for Women's Health Research, SOURCE Psychotherapy, Superkin, Susan Benjamin Feingold, PsyD and Associates LLC, The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation, The Family Center Mental Health Clinic, The Fifth Trimester, The Motherhood Center, Therapy of the Heart and Spirit, Totum Women, U.S. Lactation Consultant Association, University of North Carolina, Vania Manipod, DO, Inc, Wednesday Collaborative, Zero to Three, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Northwell Health.