AB 1936 (Cervantes) Maternal mental health screenings – Support

April 8, 2024

The Honorable Mia Bonta

Chair, Assembly Committee on Health
California State Assembly
1020 N Street, Room 390
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Support for AB 1936 (Cervantes)

Dear Chair Bonta, 

Mental Health America of California (MHAC) is pleased to support AB 1936 (Cervantes), legislation which would require maternal mental health programs to conduct at least one maternal mental health screening during pregnancy, and at least one additional screening during the first 6 months of the postpartum period.

MHAC is a peer-run organization leading the state in behavioral health public policy and advocacy since 1957. We are committed to assisting and encouraging communities, families and individuals to experience hope, wellness and recovery from mental health and substance use disorder issues through voluntary services that are delivered in their local community with compassion and respect for everyone’s dignity and autonomy. Our commitment extends to expanding preventative services that help identify potential mental health challenges and the proper support to address them.

Pregnant individuals are vulnerable to such challenges during and after pregnancy, with 1 in 3 pregnant individuals experiencing anxiety or depression.[1] Additionally, 5% to 14% of people who are pregnant or postpartum have suicidal ideations. AB 1936 aims to address these issues by identifying potential challenges during and after pregnancy and ensuring adequate support and services are accessible.

For this reason, we support AB 2670 and ask for your “Aye” vote. If you have any questions, or if MHAC can provide any assistance on this bill or any other behavioral health legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me or our Public Policy Director, Karen Vicari, at kvicari@mhaofca.org. 

In Community,

Heidi L. Strunk 
President & CEO

[1] Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA) Survey, 2020-2021. Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division, California Department of Public Health