Health Care

Federally funded Maternal Mental Health Hotline reports 12K calls, texts its first year

A national mental health hotline for new and expecting mothers received 12,000 calls and texts in less than a year since its launch, new data show.  

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) debuted the toll-free hotline on Mother’s Day last year to help expecting or post-partum mothers struggling with their mental health.  

The number connects callers to counselors who provide “emotional support, resources, and referrals.” 

Since its launch, the hotline has received about 1,000 calls and texts a month between May 2022 and March of this year, according to recently released data from the HRSA, which NBC first reported on.  

About 70 percent of contacts were phone calls and 30 percent were text messages.  

Out of all contacts, 76 percent called for themselves while 5 percent called for someone else like a friend or family member; another 5 percent were providers calling for a client and 14 percent could not be determined, according to the data.  

Of those callers reaching out for themselves, 39 percent reached out after giving birth while 19 percent reached out while pregnant.  

Most callers or texters contacted the hotline with concerns about depression, anxiety or just a general feeling of being overwhelmed.  

Out of all contacts, 33 percent of people reached out because of depression, 31 percent because of anxiety, 29 percent due to feeling overwhelmed, 18 with pregnancy concerns, and 16 percent because of relationship issues, according to the data.  

The United States has a high rate of maternal mortality compared to other high-income nations, with 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.  

And mental health issues are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States. Suicides and drug overdose made up 23 percent of maternal deaths last year, according to the CDC.

Tags maternal mental health maternal mental heath hotline maternal mortality rate

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