Celebrating 8 Years, Joy’s Reflections

By Joy Burkhard, MBA
Founder and Executive Director, 2020 Mom


I’m writing this post, 8 years to the day of when I convened our first call with stakeholders (learn more about why this first call was held, and why I raised my hand to lead it, on the video at the top of our About 2020 Mom page.)

Recalling Our Journey

I heard over and over again that providers needed more training, and universal screening was a must. This made sense, though what I wanted to understand was why women weren’t already being screened, diagnosed and treated.

I began my quest for knowledge. I combed through research (which was difficult to consolidate, and often contradictory) and struggled to find answers. Coming from my work with a large health insurer, what I knew, was that change was dependent on health insurer policy, and that in America, hospitals serve as the “hub” of birth. We launched the 2020 Mom Project, to define a simple path forward. (See the second video on our About 2020 Mom page to learn more).

It was a path forward that resonated with people, including individual obstetricians and physicians who wanted to do the right thing, but who struggled with what to do. We were invited to share this path with federal agencies, trade associations, at conferences and more.

We also knew that someday we would run a “Blue Ribbon Commission” to study maternal mental health starting in California, and that this work would be important for two reasons:

(1) to develop a state strategic plan for Maternal Mental Health
(2) to educate commission members who would have influence to change their own systems

We facilitated the formation of the commission (the Task Force on the Status of Maternal Mental Health Care), which issued its white paper of recommendations (aka the state strategic plan) in 2017.

We also knew there was value in convening multiple organizations interested in accomplishing the same goal. We formed the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health. Through the Coalition, we passed the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, selected TheBlueDot as the universal symbol of maternal mental health awareness, declared May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and launched the annual Maternal Mental Health Awareness social media campaign adjacent to Mother’s Day weekend. When two of the founding non-profits, Postpartum Progress and MotherWoman, closed their doors/lost key staff, the coalition meetings were paused.

Looking Ahead

As we have successfully learned the “why” through these eight years, beginning in 2020 we will pivot to primarily focus on implementing the “how” with the patient being our primary focus.

Though our specific strategies will be announced in early 2020, here is where we are headed:

  • We will build on our focus on state and federal policy

  • We will empower use of Certified Peer Specialists in maternal mental health

  • We will continue to curate content of interest to change agents

  • We will collaborate on key projects that multiple organizations should drive together

If you like where we have been and where we are headed, please let us know by commemorating our 8 years by donating $8 today.

It would mean a lot to me, and to our future.

We’re in this together,