PATH and MOMD: Lessons for Mental Health Systems and Policy Change

Youth and maternal mental health are critical targets for systems and policy change. Between 2018 and 2020, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) engaged state and local leaders in technical assistance initiatives targeting mental health systems and policy change in several jurisdictions. Focused on youth and mothers, these two initiatives were: Policies Advancing Transformation and Healing (PATH), addressing young people ages 16-25; and Moving on Maternal Depression (MOMD), aimed at mothers experiencing depression and other mental health challenges. 

The report, PATH & MOMD: Lessons for Mental Health Systems and Policy Change highlights cross-cutting lessons learned from both initiatives and offers considerations for local, state, and federal policymakers and advocates pursuing mental health systems and policy change.

Based on these initiatives, states and localities working to improve their systems and policies can draw key lessons that include: 

  • seeing the value of integrating a racial equity lens into their work; 
  • engaging lived experience as critical expertise for identifying needed policy and systems changes; 
  • generating better policy solutions by intentionally creating and cultivating the time and space for partnership and collaboration; and 
  • understanding that meaningful change takes time.

Adopting the systems and policy changes noted in the report can introduce new approaches across the country to better meet the long-standing and growing mental health needs of young people and mothers.