Webinar Recap: How Prudential & Presbyterian Support Maternal Mental Health

The maternal mental health crisis is often overlooked, but it has far-reaching impacts on mothers, families, and communities. Sadly behavioral health conditions are the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, yet 75% of mothers with perinatal behavioral health needs never receive treatment.

To address this persistent challenge, NeuroFlow hosted a webinar, “Fighting the Maternal Mental Health Crisis” with healthcare leaders from Presbyterian Healthcare Services and Prudential. The discussion uncovered valuable insights on how healthcare organizations can proactively identify those with behavioral health needs and connect parents to the right level of care.

Julia Kastner, Chief Product Officer at NeuroFlow, moderated the discussion between Megan Moore, Executive Director of Population Health at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and Dr. Kristin Tugman, Vice President of Holistic Wellness, Health, and Productivity at Prudential. Watch the webinar here or read on for top takeaways:

Education & Timely Intervention Are Key

Speakers emphasized the importance of educating parents about behavioral health risks and what to expect throughout pregnancy and postpartum. In a recent survey of Prudential employees, the insurance company uncovered that 44% of surveyed employees felt inadequately educated about perinatal behavioral health challenges. This is particularly concerning given the high prevalence of these issues, said Dr. Tugman. “20% of women experience some sort of postpartum mood disorder, yet only about 40% receive a diagnosis,” she explained. “And I think probably the scariest thing is that one in 19 maternity-related deaths are suicide.”

Prudential is working with claimants on maternity leave to help them navigate the postpartum period and prepare for a successful return to work. Because claimants often experience significant changes during this period, like lack of sleep or heightened anxiety, Prudential prioritizes regular screenings and digital resources tailored to the postpartum period. “What that’ll allow us to do also is recognize when someone is in need of intervention,” said Dr. Tugman, “If somebody is experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, that will allow us to provide disability case management in a new way, and recognize folks’ needs that we otherwise may not have.”

Create Integrated & Holistic Programs

Moore, who leads population health programs at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, highlighted the need for integrated physical and behavioral healthcare for maternity populations. This includes incorporating behavioral health screenings and support into prenatal and postpartum care. “We’re integrating behavioral health specialists into the maternity space to screen and to provide follow-up care,” said Moore. “We’re also contracting with some specialty telehealth providers who have maternal BH specialty services. That allows us to really shorten that time between an issue being identified and someone getting an appointment.”

Based in New Mexico, Presbyterian serves a large rural and often low-income population who may have had negative experiences with the healthcare system. Because of this, community leaders play an integral role in developing effective care models for this population. “​​We’ve implemented what we call a trusted hand model,” said Moore. “We actually compensate community leaders for using their existing relationships with some of our most vulnerable moms to gather feedback about what these mothers need, how they would learn about services, and what they think of our services currently.” Understanding what the population needs is a critical first step in providing effective, integrated maternal health care, added Moore.

Support the Entire Pregnancy Journey

One of the themes all three panelists touched on was the importance of providing relevant information to mothers based on their unique needs or stage of pregnancy. NeuroFlow accomplishes this through regular, remote behavioral health assessments and by tracking where individuals are in their pregnancy journey based on their due date or baby birth date. As NeuroFlow’s Julia Kastner explained, these insights allow for a more tailored experience.

“We have digital resources that are customized based on the screener results. If someone screens positive for postpartum depression, there could be special content on that, or if they’re close to their due date, they may receive content on pre-delivery anxiety,” said Kastner. 

That level of personalization leads to high engagement rates, particularly at Prudential, said Dr. Tugman. 15% of Prudential claimants who have access to NeuroFlow engage regularly in the platform. The organization is excited to track similar levels of engagement in the newly released maternal mental health pathways.

To learn more about these strategies, watch the full webinar recording. And visit our website for more information on NeuroFlow’s maternal mental health pathways.

Ellen Harvey is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at NeuroFlow. She has over nine years of experience writing about technology and innovation for business leaders. At NeuroFlow, she writes about prominent trends in behavioral health and illustrates how NeuroFlow's technology helps healthcare, payor, and government organizations improve the well-being of their constituents.

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