The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, a new, confidential, toll-free hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges.
With an initial $3 million investment, the hotline will launch on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022, with counselors available to provide mental health support. The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget would more than double this initial investment, allowing HRSA to expand the Maternal Mental Health Hotline’s expert staffing and build additional capacity in its future phases.
"The Biden-Harris Administration has a bold vision for changing the way we address, treat and integrate mental health—both in and out of health care settings," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
"This new Maternal Mental Health Hotline will not only advance our priorities of tackling the nation’s mental health crisis, but also support our efforts to ensure healthy pregnancies and support new parents."
This announcement, being made during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Month, supports President Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans—a key part of the President’s Unity Agenda that is reflected in the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Following the President’s State of the Union in March, Secretary Becerra kicked off the HHS National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health to address the mental health challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including substance use, youth mental health, and suicide.
Those who contact the hotline can receive a range of support, including brief interventions from trained counselors who are culturally and trauma-informed, as well as referrals to both community-based and telehealth providers as needed. Callers also will receive evidence-based information and referrals to support groups and other community resources.
"Today, we are creating a safe space for expecting and new moms who are experiencing maternal depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns to have confidential conversations and get the support they need," said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson.
"Moms can call or text 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS and connect with a counselor at no charge. We are going to continue to grow our investments in this resource, as we know it’s what women need."
The Maternal Mental Health Hotline reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive approach to improving maternal health and equity since the President and Vice President first took office.
Last year, Vice President Harris hosted the first-ever federal Maternal Day of Action where she announced a historic Call to Action to improve health outcomes for parents and infants in the United States. The launch of this hotline is part of HHS ongoing efforts to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, and eliminate pregnancy-related health disparities.
Ahead of Mother’s Day weekend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced today that Tennessee and South Carolina can begin offering Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months postpartum to an estimated 22,000 and 16,000 pregnant and postpartum individuals, respectively, through a new state plan opportunity made available by the American Rescue Plan.
Last month, HHS released a $9 million funding opportunity to expand HRSA’s State Maternal Health Innovation Program and awarded $16 million to support the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. HHS also recently released a $4.5 million funding opportunity to expand community-based doulas in areas with high rates of adverse maternal and infant health outcomes.
In addition, HHS is funding seven states to support a Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression Program to expand women’s health care providers’ training in mental health and to provide them with teleconsultation access to mental health specialists to support their patients’ mental health needs.
The hotline is accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish. TTY Users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746.
The Maternal Mental Health Hotline is not intended as an emergency response line and individuals in behavioral health crisis should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Press release obtained from the Office of Health & Human Services Department