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Rep. Young Kim

May 6, 2024 | Health, Press Releases

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-40) and Robin Kelly (IL-02), who serve as co-chairs of the Maternity Care Caucus, introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Res 1193) to designate May 5-11, 2024 as “Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week” to raise awareness about maternal mental health and its effects on maternal-child health. 

“Untreated maternal mental health disorders impact 1 in 5 mothers and cost the United States $14.2 billion each year. The emotional toll of mental health challenges on women cannot be overstated, yet far too few women seek the help that they need during pregnancy,” said Congresswoman Kim. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan resolution to recognize Maternal Mental Health Awareness week and highlight the importance of maternal health care. I will keep working as co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus to deliver results and support women, whether they are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or facing infertility.” 

“Mental health challenges affect millions of mothers every year but mothers rarely ask for help or seek treatment. I am proud to join my colleague and Maternity Care Caucus co-chair, Congresswoman Young Kim, to introduce this resolution marking Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. We must end the stigma and increase access to treatment for moms suffering from mental health challenges. These services are especially important in light of heightened maternal mortality, morbidity, and mental health needs, disproportionately impacting communities of color, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress must ensure that resources like the maternal mental health hotline are accessible and reach the communities that need them most,” said Congresswoman Kelly. 

“MemorialCare focuses on enterprise-wide strategic maternal health priorities, successfully improving outcomes for both mothers and babies while expanding access to care to address health equity within its clinical programs,” said Shela Kaneshiro, chief clinical transformation officer, MemorialCare. “By providing maternal mental health support groups, participating in pilot programs like the one with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and other programs has allowed us to better understand how to help our families connect to the right maternal care at the right time.” 

This resolution supports the goals and ideals of Maternal Health Awareness Week, including:  

  • Raising awareness of the risk factors, signs, symptoms, and treatment options for maternal mental health conditions for pregnant and postpartum women and their families, the providers who care for them, and the public;  
  • Recognizing that maternal mental health disorders and maternal suicide are serious public health problems;  
  • Honoring the mothers who have died by suicide and the children and families left behind;  
  • Encouraging research on safe and effective treatments for pregnant and postpartum women, dissemination of updated data on evidence-based treatments to the medical community and public, and provider training on the treatment of maternal mental health disorders; and 
  • Promoting initiatives that address provider shortages and increase affordable access to treatment for maternal mental health disorders so that suffering mothers and their families can recover and thrive. 

Rep. Kim has been fighting for maternal health priorities as co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus such as: 

  • Addressing nurse workforce shortages by introducing the bipartisan, bicameral National Nursing Workforce Center Act (H.R. 2411); 
  • Improving stillbirth research and awareness by leading the bipartisan, bicameral Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act (H.R. 5012); 
  • Supporting resources for domestic violence victims by introducing the bipartisan Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (H.R. 2604), which she also supported in the 117th Congress along with the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1620); 
  • Leading a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration urging for updates on the effectiveness of the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline; 
  • Boosting outcomes for screening and treatment of maternal mental health and substance use disorders; 
  • Securing key maternity care priorities in the FY24 appropriations bill; and, 
  • Sounding the alarm on the maternity mortality crisis in the United States.

Reps. Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Bonnie Watson-Coleman (NJ-12), Julia Letlow (LA-05), and Susan Wild (PA-07) joined the resolution as original co-sponsors. 

Read the full resolution here. 

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