May 12, 2023 - Health

12,000 people used a national maternal mental health hotline in its first year

A pregnant woman rests her hands on her stomach. Photo: Marcus Brandt/picture alliance via Getty Images

A national mental health hotline aimed at new and expecting parents received was accessed by about 12,000 people in its first 11 months, according to recently released government data.

Driving the news: The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline was launched on Mother's Day last year as part of the Biden administration's efforts to address and improve maternal health in the U.S.

By the numbers: The federally funded hotline received an average of 1,000 calls and texts per month between May 2022 and the end of March, per data from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

  • Of the contacts, 70% were by phone and 30% were by text.
  • Among those contacting the hotline, 76% said they were calling for themselves, while 5% were calling for another person, such as a family member or friend. Another 5% of callers were providers, while 14% were categorized as "other."
  • Among those calling for themselves, 38% were postpartum while 19% were pregnant. 42% did not report to the counselor whether they fell into either category.
  • Callers identified a number of reasons for contacting the hotline, including anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed, issues faced in pregnancy, and relationship conflict.
  • NBC first reported on the data.

The big picture: The U.S. faces higher maternal mortality rates than other developed countries, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

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