Maternal Mental Health NOW was formed in February 2007 as the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force. The Task Force was the result of a commitment by the Los Angeles County Office of the Public Defender and the leadership efforts of Special Counsel/Legislative Analyst Kimberly Wong, a survivor of severe postpartum depression. Maternal Mental Health NOW is a volunteer network of over 200 individuals representing more than 50 public, private, and community agencies as well community leaders, research partners and advocates for mothers, infants and families, survivors of maternal depression and affected family members. With support from private foundations, First 5 LA, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and individual donors, Maternal Mental Health NOW has been successful in raising awareness of the needs of women suffering from perinatal mood disorders, training health professionals and others providing care to women, infants and children and advancing public policies on a county and statewide level. Further details about Maternal Mental Health NOW's accomplishments can be found below:
Accomplishments In Public Awareness
- Obtained the dedication of May of every year as Perinatal Depression Awareness Month throughout Los Angeles County and the state of California.
- Organized a 2011 Perinatal Depression Community Awareness Forum on Maternal Depression at Harbor UCLA Medical Center where Supervisor Ridley-Thomas' Office presented a Board Resolution, proclaiming May of 2011 Perinatal Depression Awareness Month.
- Partnered with Univision Television to broadcast a community awareness segment in Spanish, A Su Lado, that focused on maternal depression. Task Force volunteers staffed the phone lines and gave resources referrals and support to callers. To view the show, please click HERE.
- Designed and disseminated over 105,000 copies of the English and Spanish Speak Up When You're Down posters and Six Things Every Mom and Mom-to-Be Should Know About Perinatal Depression to LA County's birthing hospitals, community clinics and child development centers.
Accomplishments In Training
- Developed a Training Institute that delivers tailored perinatal mood disorder trainings to all levels of providers across all sectors, including early childhood education, health, child welfare, criminal justice, mental health and more.
- Created a Community Providers Perinatal Mental Health Tool Kit, which includes information and handouts on the signs, symptoms, risk factors, effects, screening, assessment, prevention, and intervention for perinatal depression and related mood and anxiety disorders for providers.
- Co-sponsored the first perinatal mood disorder conference in Los Angeles County. The August 2009 conference was attended by over 200 health and mental health professionals from greater Los Angeles and nationwide.
- Co-led a pilot systems improvement project, as part of the the Magnolia Place Community Initiative, which aimed to improve outcomes for children by aligning systems that directly address maternal mental health.
- Received the 2011 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award, in the category of public health, for our multifaceted Maternal Depression Improvement Project which seeks to improve the current service structure for preventing, identifying, and treating maternal depression.
- Launched an innovative, first of its kind, pilot project with USC-Eisner Family Medicine to implement an IMPACT model in which perinatal mental health is embedded in primary care visits both for screening and intervention.
Accomplishments In Advocacy
- Ensured the passage of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 105, declaring May of every year Perinatal Depression Awareness Month throughout the State of California.
- Co-sponsored ACR 53 (Hernandez), the Kelly Abraham Martinez Act, which urges hospital providers, mental health care providers, health plans, and insurers to invest resources to educate women about perinatal depression risk factors and triggers.
- Co-hosted a November 2009 Policy Roundtable in order to build sustainable policies to improve maternal mental health screening practices and treatment services in Los Angeles County. A summary of policy recommendations that were produced can be found HERE.
- Published a series of policy briefs including Access to Quality Care for Maternal Depression: Meeting the Challenge and Screening for Postpartum Depression at Well Child Visits. To view them, please click HERE.