Mental health hotline available for expectant mothers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s new help available for expectant mothers who are experiencing mental health challenges.

The government is spending $3 million on a hotline staffed by counselors who can provide mental health support.

The experts can refer women to community-based mental health providers and local support groups.

It’s part of President Joe Biden’s effort to address the nation’s mental health crisis and help new parents by ensuring moms have healthy pregnancies.

A psychologist at University Health says too often perinatal mood and anxiety issues cover a lot more than mothers feeling down or depressed.

“It may not be the typical ‘Oh I feel sad, I feel like Eeyore,” a behavior psychologist at Women’s Health Services Tiffany Ruffin said.

“And so asking someone do you feel depressed? And they say no. They don’t feel depressed, they are struggling with constant worries. They are struggling with constant feelings of guilt. They are struggling with rage, irritability, being on edge, and not feeling like themselves. But are they going to say they are feeling depressed? No, they are not.”

Ruffin says this group of symptoms has become the number one complication for women during the childbirth period.

Less than 15% of women who struggle with mood and anxiety symptoms get connected to treatment for them.

Moms facing depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges can call or text 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS to get in touch with trained counselors who provide brief interventions and are culturally sensitive and trauma-informed.

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If you are thinking of hurting or killing yourself, you can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Please get help immediately.