LOS ANGELES, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative (http://www.camaternalmentalhealth.org/), a non-profit organization committed to increasing and improving maternal mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment, is launching its national campaign, the 2020 Mom Project (www.2020MomProject.com), to bring screening and treatment for maternal mental health disorders by the year 2020. The 2020 Mom Project is a national call to action that sets forth an aggressive new path for solving what some have called one of the biggest public health concerns of our time: the silent maternal mental health crisis which impacts up to 20 percent of expecting and new moms. It is being launched in recognition of National Women's Health Week, May 12 through 18, 2013 (http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/).
"Postpartum depression and anxiety are age-old problems that most obstetricians recognize, but very few know how to treat, especially in a timely fashion," said Judy Mikacich, M.D. and Co-Chair of the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative.
There have been numerous efforts to assist obstetricians (OBGYNs) and primary care providers, such as pediatricians, in screening for mental health problems, but due to a number of challenges – including OBGYNs and pediatricians declaring they don't have enough time and don't know where to refer patients for help – most women and their families aren't being informed, screened and provided treatment.
"We realized it was time to think outside of the box for new easy-to-implement solutions that will change the way the majority of women are educated about maternal mental health disorders and provided help quickly when needed," explained Joy Burkhard, the 2020 Mom Project Director and Co-Chair of the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative. "Because most women give birth in a hospital and many more are expected to be insured beginning in 2014, we were able to come up with the framework for the 2020 Mom Project. The Project has identified recommendations for stakeholders, such as insurers and hospitals."
Any insurer or hospital can adopt the recommendations by reviewing the guidelines and signing an on-line agreement including the date they will complete implementation. This information is then available for anyone to search on line. The recommendations will be updated each year, and adopters can choose to adopt the latest, more stringent recommendations, or an earlier version.
"It's time for a paradigm shift," explained Burkhard. "We hope that by establishing recommendations for hospitals and insurers, we can be the springboard for significant change by the year 2020."
According to independent studies, women in their childbearing years account for the largest group of Americans with depression. Postpartum depression and anxiety are the most common complications of pregnancy, impacting up to 20 percent of pregnant and new mothers.   Despite the prevalence of maternal depression, anxiety and other maternal mental health disorders go largely undiagnosed and untreated. This impacts marriage stability, increases the cost of a mother's medical care, adds to the risk of costly pre-term birth, impacts infant mental health and development, and leads to higher medical care utilization and costs for children over their lifetimes.
About the 2020 Mom Project and the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative
The 2020 Mom Project is a national campaign of the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative ("The Collaborative"). The Collaborative is a non-profit organization and was formed in September 2011. The California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative is in part the result of the passage of California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 105, which declared May as Perinatal Depression Awareness month in California. ACR 105 also urged private and public stakeholders to form a volunteer task force to address opportunities for increasing awareness of and screening for maternal mental health disorders. The collaborative includes over 30 members representing for-profit, non-profit and government organizations, including representatives from the regional collaboratives/task forces in the state of California. Its members include a wide representation of the community: medical and mental health professionals, educators, community advocates and individuals who have experienced these disorders.
SOURCE The California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative