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Moore JE, McLemore MR, Glenn N, Zivin K. Policy Opportunities To Improve Prevention, Diagnosis, And Treatment Of Perinatal Mental Health Conditions. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2021 Oct 1; 40(10):1534-1542.
One in five pregnant or postpartum people has a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder, which are the most common mental health illnesses that occur during the perinatal period. Untreated perinatal mental health conditions, encompassing pregnancy and the first five years of a child''s life, carry a societal burden of $14 billion per year in the US. This overview article describes the prevalence of perinatal mental health conditions; the implications of those conditions; and associated barriers to screening, treatment, and bias associated with mental health conditions. We offer six policy opportunities designed to overcome the barriers and support overall sexual and reproductive health: extending Medicaid coverage through twelve months postpartum; redesigning care and reimbursement through co-location of services; establishing coverage for home visiting and peer support programs; enhancing telehealth policies that support access and coverage beyond the COVID-19 pandemic; enhancing data, research, and accountability; and enacting social and economic policies that support families.