Our Most Important Work in 2018, and Looking Ahead to 2019

By Joy Burkhard, MBA

Wow, 2018!  

I'm pleased to share our 2018 Impact Report infographic and some of our 2018 highlights below.

If you have followed our work, you know our most celebrated accomplishment was our sponsorship and the passage of three pieces of key maternal mental health legislation. These bills made up the most comprehensive MMH legislative package ever.

California Legislation & Wide Media Coverage
This work happened on the heels of the national coverage of a Sacramento, CA mother, Jessica Porten, whose doctor's office called the police after she opened up about intrusive thoughts and anger associated with anxiety. This was just after the issuance of the California Taskforce on MMH report, which 2020 Mom commissioned. The multi-stakeholder taskforce set a very aggressive goal: 80% screening rate by the year 2021 and 100% by 2025. A law now becomes effective July 1, that requires obstetricians and PCPs who care for perinatal women to screen or confirm screening has already occurred. Health insurers and hospitals are also now required to address maternal mental health. Learn more about these laws here. Thank you to our co-sponsor Maternal Mental Health Now.

In 2019 three new pieces of California legislation are being introduced. These bills will address making training available to obstetricians & PCPs, providing telepsychiatry consultation between reproductive psychiatrists and obstetricians/PCPs, and addressing the role of county departments of mental health in advancing MMH.

HEDIS Measure  
The task force report also triggered the start of development of a HEDIS measure. The measure, when finalized (likely in two years after significant testing), will determine national and regional obstetrician screening rates. The measure development is co-funded by the California Health Care Foundation and ZomaLabs.

CA Task Force White Paper Implementation
2020 Mom was provided a small grant by the California Health Care Foundation to facilitate distribution of the task force report to national and regional nonprofits noted as having a role in addressing MMH. We are also collecting responses from those organizations.

In 2019 we will issue a report on implementation of these state and national recommendations. Our goal is to also develop a template state strategic plan, that any state can adapt to develop their own path forward.

The Ambassador Program Expanded, and Innovation Award Program Continued to Wow
2018 was our second year providing volunteers all over the U.S. an opportunity to do meaningful work in their communities as 2020 Mom Ambassadors. This included piloting a new "Speaking Ambassador" program to have ready maternal mental health provider advocates available to speak to the media, at community events, and conferences. These ambassadors are equipped to address the range of disorders and the systems change opportunities which are the cornerstone of our work. It was also our second year running the Maternal Mental Health Innovation Awards, funded by ZomaLabs.
The Innovation Awards identifies programs throughout the U.S. that have implemented creative solutions and have proven outcomes. A panel of esteemed judges selected the winners in three categories: Clinical Care, Community Programming, and Advocacy. The intent is not only to recognize those who have created and implemented such programs but also to help others adopt their models. The awards were presented this year at the Postpartum Support International conference in Houston.

In 2019 we will return to the Marce Society of North America (formerly the Perinatal Mental Health Society of North America) to present the Innovation Awards at their bi-annual conference at the University of North Carolina at-Chapel Hill. The advocacy award will also change to the government agency award for the 2019 award year.

Other 2018 Highlights

  • Our MMH Certified Peer Specialist Pilot, funded by the hope & grace fund (a part of the Philosophy skin care line), launched this year to determine if the certified peer specialist training/certification process available in most states can be leveraged for MMH peers. We tested in the two cities with the highest rates of postpartum depression (PPD), Houston and Phoenix.

In late 2019, a report will be issued documenting the study’s findings. Read more about our partners here.

  • Our 3rd Annual Federal Lobby Days was held in DC in conjunction with the second annual "March for Moms" maternity care rally on the capitol mall. In 2019 the event has been rebranded as "Mom Congress," based on the opportunity to expand partnerships with other nonprofits addressing maternal child health.

In 2019 we host Mom Congress May 6-8, 2019. Add your name to the interest list now.

  • We launched the 3rd annual 2018 U.S. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week social media campaign off of TheBlueDotProject brand and website. We reached nearly 10 million people with the message of #RealMotherhood.

2019, our theme is #MakingOverMotherhood
We'll follow the journey of three mothers who have recently healed from a maternal mental health disorder, each who will receive a simple make over in Los Angeles as they begin their next chapters of motherhood.
We'll also again urge moms to take the #RealMotherhoodChallenge by ditching the filters and engage in real conversation about how difficult it can be to mother. Organizational partners will be invited to take the first annual #SupportingMotherhoodChallange by committing to do something in support of mothers in 2019, and publicly proclaiming their action.

More in 2019

  • We hope to secure a funder in early 2019, to fund Project MMH Connect, the Maternal Mental Health Learning Network. The learning network will be organized in 'circles' or interest areas with their own listserves, file sharing capability and webinars; and will initially launch with circles for hospitals and support group leaders. Additional circles will be added, for groups like public health departments, occupational therapists, and more.

  • In California we are poised to close real treatment gaps, by elevating two model support group curriculums, which will eventually be set up as train the trainer programs. Our partners include Postpartum Support Virginia (PSVa), for their hospital based clincian-peer lead support group model (recognized in our "Models that Made it" webinar series in 2018), and The Mother's and Babies prevention/treatment group program.

Don't be shy about letting us know how we are doing by leaving a comment below.

Thank you to our donors, program sponsors and funders who made 2018 a success and to those who will fuel work in 2019.