Low-income mothers of young children have high rates of untreated depression due in large part to the lack of affordable health coverage and lack of access to mental health care. Untreated maternal depression can be damaging to a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. The ACA offers new routes to finance and systematize maternal depression identification and treatment. However, major efforts to take advantage of these policy changes have yet to be mounted.
A new resource from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Seizing New Policy Opportunities to Help Low-Income Mothers with Depression: Current Landscape, Innovations, and Next Steps, provides a scan of federal, state, and local efforts to effectively address maternal depression by building on innovative policies. The brief provides suggestions to state policymakers and advocates on ways to create an effective and comprehensive statewide approach to the issue at hand. In particular, the authors discuss efforts that establish powerful connections between state and federal governments as well as between health systems and child care, early education, mental health, and Medicaid sectors.
At Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, in collaboration with CLASP, we are working on a brief that examines the connections between maternal depression and state opportunities to leverage funding and improve access to mental health care through Medicaid expansion. Stay tuned for more information about our forthcoming report!