Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders Program (MDRBD)

Our Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders (MDRBD) program helps address maternal mental health conditions that often affect women during and after pregnancy.

How common are maternal mental health conditions?

Maternal mental health conditions are the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth. These conditions include depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, and affect 1 in 5 women.1

Maternal mental health conditions can impact how a mother cares for herself and her child. They can also affect the child’s cognitive and emotional development, and ability to attach to a primary caregiver. Intervening early with the right support and treatment can prevent or reverse these health effects.

What are the program goals?

The primary goals include:

  • Improving the mental health and well-being of pregnant and post-partum women, and in turn, the social and emotional development of their infants
  • Increasing health care providers’ early identification of maternal mental health conditions
  • Using evidence-based and culturally appropriate practices to provide women treatment and referral
  • Improving access to affordable, community-based treatment and recovery support services, locally or via telehealth, especially in rural and medically underserved areas

Telehealth services are very important given that there is a shortage (PDF - 451 KB) of psychiatrists, especially perinatal ones. State health departments receiving MDRDB funding will develop or expand programs addressing behavioral health through telehealth. This aims to improve access for women living in rural and medically underserved areas.

These statewide or regional programs will:

  • Train health care providers to use a set of standard questions to identify maternal mental health conditions earlier, assess and treat problems
  • Offer doctors/nurses real time advice from other doctors on how to assess and treat maternal mental health conditions
  • Offer care coordination support to health care providers

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Related Resources:

1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2018 committee opinion. No. 757, Screening for Perinatal Depression. Retrieved 8/2020 Exit Disclaimer; Gavin NI, Gaynes BN, Lohr KN, Meltzer-Brody S, Gartlehner G, Swinson T. Perinatal depression: a systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstet Gynecol 2005;106:1071–83.; Fawcett EJ, Fairbrother N, Cox ML, White IR, Fawcett JM. The Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: A Multivariate Bayesian Meta-Analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 2019;80(4):18r12527. Published 2019 Jul 23. doi:10.4088/JCP.18r12527

Date Last Reviewed:  September 2020