Problems? Solutions? We got’em all! Keep reading!
By: Kayla, Litzy, & Doron (a.k.a. The Metachicks)
Over the course of our research and through talking to our partner organization, The Mother Mental Health Conference, we, The Meta Chicks, have come to understand that despite 20% of mothers in Texas experiencing a perinatal mental health disorder, the Texas Legislature has provided very little funding to help those women pay for screenings or treatment. Specifically, the last time this issue received Texas governmental funding was $82 million in 2007, despite perinatal mental health providers needing $1.5 billion per year. Because of this, the many women who cannot pay the expensive screening fee, which is up to $2000 dollars in some local Austin clinics, go undiagnosed and untreated which can have a huge impact on a family. We believe that the lack of information the Texas lawmakers have on this issue is the cause for this lack of funding and grants to sufferers of perinatal mental health disorders.
We as a team, hope to achieve the idea of overall knowledge and acceptance of perinatal mental health and those struggling with it, especially in the Texas legislature. Many common mental illnesses are common chat subjects but perinatal mental is a very “hush hush” topic and that has to change. By having knowledge spread throughout the state of Texas and it’s government, we will create a less stressful environment for mothers struggling with these illnesses. Once this knowledge is public information, then lawmakers and bill passers will be able to provide more funding for these women and mothers. By doing this the cost of treatment doesn’t come from the pocket of the women themselves because many women cannot afford the expensive tests and treatments that come along with their illnesses. Many of the women are also already mothers so their money is tight while they have to support other children. Our final vision is that perinatal mental health will be given the funding that sufferers of these disorders need and deserve.
Our current plan for solution is a t-shirt quilt. We will buy 4 different colored shirts with each color representing a different experienced with perinatal mental health. The first color will represent if the person has experience PMH personally, the second if the participant is an advocate for PMH, the third if their friends or family have suffered from PMH, and the final color will indicate if they are a care provider. At the conference the attendings will have the chance to pick a shirt they identify with the most and write or draw the experiences and knowledge they have about perinatal health. As each shirt is finished, they will be tied together to form a large quilt with everyone’s experiences. Afterwards, this quilt will be presented to the Texas legislature to show the legislators how widespread and personal the problem of perinatal mental health disorders really is. Ideally, this will convince them to increase the amount of governmental funding for this issue.