National Maternal Mental Health Hotline provides critical support for birthing people and families

There has been awareness about the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline since its launch this summer, but little is known about another 24/7 hotline that was implemented beforehand. The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline was launched in May 2022 by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The hotline connects pregnant, postpartum people and their families to hotline counselors which comprise of licensed mental health clinicians, doulas, childbirth educators, doctors and other perinatal professionals. Callers can:

  • receive resources
  • receive referrals to telehealth, local providers and support groups
  • receive education
  • offer brief intervention

The hotline connects pregnant, postpartum people and their families to hotline counselors which comprise of licensed mental health clinicians, doulas, childbirth educators, doctors and other perinatal professionals.

The hotline counselors also provide culturally sensitive and trauma informed support, and provides language support in English, Spanish, and translation services for 60 other languages. It is important to note that the hotline is for people who are not in crisis, but in need of assistance and support for maternal mental health (MMH) conditions. If a caller is suicidal or in a domestic violence situation, then the hotline counselor will refer them to the appropriate hotline—including 988—and the domestic violence and disaster distress hotlines.

Alarming statistics about maternal mental health conditions in the United States

Due to the fact that sometimes MMH conditions can be overlooked by physical health conditions in the maternal health space, the Maternal Mental Health Hotline is an innovative resource because this issue impacts many birthing people. According to the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, one in five women will experience MMH conditions during pregnancy or the first year following childbirth. Ohioans are also impacted by MMH conditions. One of the leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths in the state was MMH conditions at 11 percent from 2008-2017. More alarmingly in 2015, about 16 percent of Ohio women who experienced a live birth suffered depressive symptoms; a percentage higher than the United States overall (at around 13 percent). Racial disparities are part of this issue: Black women are more than twice as likely to suffer from MMH conditions but half as likely to receive treatment compared to their white counterparts.

If you or someone else need help with MMH, call or text the hotline at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746).

With limited awareness about the hotline, more work needs to be done

To learn more about the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs released a webinar, including information about the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. HRSA created some promotional materials for the public to share on social media. The National Maternal Health Hotline is one of the ways to address maternal mental health, but more work needs to be done. More policies and interventions must be created to address this public health issue, especially since there has been an increased rate of birthing people who experienced MMH symptoms since the start of the pandemic.

If you or someone else need help with MMH, call or text the hotline at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746).