Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion to send a five-signature letter expressing strong support of AB 577 to the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), Sacramento’s Legislative leadership, the County’s State Legislative Delegation, and to California Gov. Gavin Newsom:

“AB 577 is essential to close gaps in maternal mental health services provided to patients with mental health conditions. In California, one in five women suffer from pregnancy-related depression. Unfortunately, due to systemic barriers in our mental health care system, less than 15 percent of these women are treated. Each year, nearly 10,000 mothers give birth to children at a LA County Department of Health Services hospital. Approximately 51 percent of mothers in LA County have reported experiencing postpartum depression, with 9.9 percent and 3.4 percent respectively reporting they are either moderately or very depressed. Left untreated, new mothers silently suffer while their physical and emotional well-being is severely compromised in the short and long-term.

This is a health equity issue. Women from low-income households are 11 times more likely to develop postpartum depression symptoms than women of higher socioeconomic status. Many of these women juggle more than one job, and are raising more than one child, while struggling to make ends meet. These stressors often lead to an undiagnosed mental health condition which can adversely affect the health of the entire family. Further, if a mother struggles with untreated postpartum depression, their infants and young children are more likely to experience difficulty reaching developmental milestones. This leads to worse outcomes for all.

Currently, mothers who qualify for Medi-Cal can access postpartum care, including mental health services, but these benefits end 60 days after the last day of pregnancy. However, since postpartum depression can occur up to a year after giving birth, this is not enough time for these new mothers to heal. Extending these benefits is vital for the well-being of new mothers and their infants.

AB 577 would extend Medi-Cal postpartum care from 60 days to one year for women diagnosed with a maternal mental health condition.

Los Angeles County supports AB 577, which helps ensure all women can receive the care they need and deserve.”

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Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, 213-359-0795 or rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov