Gov. Landry and State Lawmakers Declare May 1 as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day in Louisiana

Woman’s Hospital is excited to announce that Governor Jeff Landry has issued a proclamation declaring today, May 1, as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day in Louisiana. In addition, Senator Patrick McMath has authored Senate Resolution 75, and Representative Dustin Miller has authored House Resolution 188 to do the same. According to the Centers for Disease Control, maternal mental health conditions are among the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting 1 in 5 women. Suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and accounts for 20 percent of postpartum deaths. Woman’s Hospital President and CEO Rene Ragas was joined by Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Ralph Abraham and members of their staff at the State Capitol today as the resolutions were presented in both chambers.

“Woman’s is the largest single hospital provider of maternity care for women in Louisiana, and we take our responsibility to address all aspects of perinatal health seriously,” said Woman’s Hospital President and CEO Rene Ragas. “We know how serious mental health conditions can be for mothers during and after pregnancy. It includes everything from anxiety, prenatal and postpartum depression. This fall, Woman’s will open a 10-bed inpatient perinatal mental health unit that will be the only one of its kind in Louisiana and only one of four in the entire country. It will be integral to the healing process for mothers who are suffering. We want to raise awareness about the importance of this issue and are grateful to Governor Landry, Senator McMath, and Representative Miller for understanding the need and joining us in helping to bring hope and healing to mothers, children, and families.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health reports that 1 in 8 women will experience postpartum depression in the year following birth. Sadly, about 75 percent of women experiencing mental health conditions go undiagnosed or untreated.

“LDH appreciates the addition of this critical service dedicated to addressing maternal mental health at Woman’s Hospital,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Ralph Abraham. “Mental health has been a long-standing challenge in Louisiana, and we know that lack of access to mental health treatment and care are often linked to poorer outcomes, particularly for those who have been exposed to traumatic events. Moms in Louisiana have their own mental health needs as they navigate motherhood, which is why LDH is committed to improving mental health treatment for moms and other caregivers, especially in the critical year after a child is born. Looking forward, LDH is designing programs to address moms’ most pressing mental health needs, especially around substance use disorder and post-partum depression.”

Click here to read the Proclamation.
Click here to read Senate Resolution 75.
Click here to read House Resolution 188.

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Louisiana Department of Health Deputy Director Tangela Womack, Woman's Hospital President & CEO Rene Ragas, Woman's Hospital Director of Inpatient Perinatal Psychiatry Dr. Kelly Schwartzenburg Cannon, Woman's Hospital Vice President of Public Revenue Integrity Ruth Johnson, Louisiana Representative Dustin Miller

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Louisiana Department of Health Chief of Staff Drew Maranto,, Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Ralph Abraham, Woman's Hospital Vice President of Public Revenue Integrity Ruth Johnson, Woman's Hospital Director of Inpatient Perinatal Psychiatry Dr. Kelly Schwartzenburg Cannon, Woman's Hospital President & CEO Rene Ragas

Representatives from Woman's Hospital pictured with Louisiana Senator Patrick McMath and senators from across the state for presentation of Governor Landry's Maternal Mental Health Awareness

About Woman’s Hospital

Woman’s is a specialty hospital for women and infants located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since opening in 1968, it has welcomed more than 375,000 babies, making it one of the largest delivery services in the country and the largest in Louisiana. Additionally, Woman’s operates a level III-S neonatal intensive care unit; this designation allows them to care for infants who are extremely premature, are critically ill or require surgical intervention. The hospital is also recognized for its expertise in mammography as well as breast and gynecologic cancer care. As a private, nonprofit organization, all funds are reinvested into the hospital to continue Woman’s mission to improve the health of women and infants through the latest technology, a highly qualified staff and critical community programs and services.