L.A. County to Pilot Maternal Health Program in El Monte

Baby cry

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to implement a pilot maternal health program in El Monte, hoping to reach pregnant women and new mothers struggling with postpartum depression or substance abuse.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the pilot program.

``Nationally, maternal mental health disorders affect one in seven mothers,'' Solis said. ``Too many women suffer in silence due to the stigma surrounding maternal mental health disorders.''

The rate of postpartum depression is much higher in Los Angeles County. A 2016 survey by the Department of Public Health indicated that more than 25% of new moms experienced symptoms of depression.

The Department of Mental Health plans to work with public health workers, faith-based groups and promotoras -- community health workers who work in Spanish-speaking communities -- to set up peer support groups. Community health workers will also begin a public awareness campaign to educate new mothers on the importance of mental health. Medical providers will also receive training to more effectively diagnose related issues.

``Every mother and child, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, has a right to reach her full potential in life,'' Solis said.

The board directed staffers to come up with a plan for the pilot in 90 days.

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