Saving Moms, Saving Lives

By Lauren Underwood


The sixth Black Maternal Health Momnibus bill, the Moms MATTER Act, is led by Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and focuses on maternal mental and behavioral health. According to findings from MMRCs, “mental health conditions are one of the leading causes of pregnancy-related death.” MMRCs have also been assessing substance use disorder as a contributing factor in maternal deaths, recognizing the overall national trend of drug overdose deaths tripling from 1999 to 2014.

These challenges are most acute for low-income and minority families: According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, more than half of poor infants live with a mother who has some level of depressive symptoms. Research from the Center for American Progress finds that maternal mental health issues among black women “are largely underreported and symptoms often go unaddressed.”


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