Kelly & Formica Applaud Passage of Maternal Mental Health Support Legislation

May 2, 2022

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) applauded the General Assembly’s approval of legislation to support maternal mental health by increasing education, access to resources and screenings, and reducing the stigma surrounding postpartum depression and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.


Earlier this year, Connecticut Senate Republican leaders proposed a Better Way to a Healthy Connecticut to improve mental health care, including for maternal mental health challenges.


Multiple components of the Senate Republican proposal were passed in House Bill 5500, which earned final passage in the State Senate today with unanimous support.


“At a time when mental health challenges are increasing at an alarming rate and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened stressors such as social isolation, economic insecurity, anxiety and fears of infection, and financial hardship, we must act to support all people access mental health supports, including maternal mental health,” said Senator Kelly. “Senate Republicans proposed a comprehensive plan to increase screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, require education for providers and patients, ensure therapy is covered by insurance, and raise public awareness to break the stigma that surrounds maternal mental health issues. House Bill 5500 is a first step to achieve many of these goals. We applaud the strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate to gain final passage.”


Senator Formica added, “One in seven women experience perinatal mental health complications, yet it is estimated that 50% of women who are depressed remain undiagnosed during and following pregnancy. The pandemic has worsened stressors, and Connecticut lags behind other states in screening requirements and education for both providers and patients when it comes to postpartum support. Maternal mental health has long-reaching effects on the physical, mental, and emotional development of mothers, children, and families. This is one of many areas in mental health that must be addressed now.”

maternal mental health

House Bill 5500 includes the following policies:

  • Requires the state’s maternal mortality review committee to develop education materials on mental health disorders for pregnant and postpartum individuals; screening tools for patients experiencing intimate partner violence, postpartum mood disorders and substance use disorders; and indicators of intimate partner violence for hospitals and obstetricians.
  • Require facilities where births occur to establish a patient portal where postpartum individuals can access educational materials.
  • Require facilities where births occur to provide educational materials to postpartum individuals on the health and safety of postpartum mental health disorders.
  • Establishes May as maternal mental health month and May 5th as Maternal Mental Health Day.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.