Florida Health working to improve maternal mental health outcomes

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday that Florida is one of seven states to receive grant funding from the Human Resources and Services Administration to address the mental health needs of pregnant and postpartum women. The department will partner with the Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine and the Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative to develop a model for screening and treating maternal mental health concerns.

“Good mental health before, during and after pregnancy can positively impact the health of both mother and child,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “The department is excited to announce its partnership with the FSU College of Medicine and the Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative to address the mental health needs of pregnant and post-partum women and support the development of mental health and substance abuse resources.”

According to the Florida Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), more than half of mothers in Florida report experiencing postpartum depression after childbirth. However, less than 10 percent of mothers who experienced postpartum depression sought or had access to professional help.

Over the five-year grant period the department and its partners will develop a sustainable screening and treatment model to improve maternal mental health concerns across the state. Some of the goals of the project include:

  • Build statewide capacity in Florida to fully and competently deliver all aspects of screening, referral, engagement, and mental health consultation trainings to all major obstetrics practices and birth hospitals across North Florida;
  • Build and implement a screening and treatment model for maternal mental health in all major prenatal healthcare practices across North Florida
  • Initiate and maintain provider participation and engagement in the program;
  • Expand mental health and substance abuse referral networks in the regions;
  • Increase access to screening, referral, and treatment for women in rural and non-rural areas through telehealth resources; and
  • Train community mental health providers in evidence-based psychotherapy and management of perinatal mental health disorders.

For more information on how the department supports maternal and child health, visit www.floridahealth.gov.