World Mental Health Day: Mental health is core to Maven's mission

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At Maven, mental health is core to our mission to empower women and families to take care and take on the world. For World Mental Health Day marked by the World Health Organization on October 10th, join us in helping to raise awareness, break stigmas, and improve access to compassionate, convenient mental health care that meets you where you are. Check in with yourself and with friends, family, neighbors, employees, and colleagues—today and more frequently. 

Here are five (of many) reasons we have mental health at the center of our family benefits solutions. 

1. Individuals want and need access to better, more convenient mental health care.

With more people speaking openly about mental health issues like anxiety and depression—important dialogue that we hope will only continue—more companies are recognizing the importance of providing access to mental health without out-of-pocket costs. 1 in 4 employees want more mental health support from their employer (according to the 2019 Business Group/Optum Well-being Survey). 

2. When it comes to navigating any path to parenthood, mental health needs are especially critical—and often go untreated.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are extremely common, affecting 1 in 7 women worldwide. According to the Seleni Institute, as many as 20% of new mothers in the United States suffer from anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or (more rarely) postpartum psychosis, either during or after pregnancy. And data shows that between 5-10% of new fathers experience depression. 

But while these are extremely common, in a national survey that Maven conducted of 700 new mothers, 54% said that they were never even given the chance to discuss any mental health issues, as they were not screened during pre- and postnatal care. Through Maven, checking in on mental health is an important piece of care at any point in an individual’s journey—and we follow-through from screening to treatment. Our providers and Care Advocates ensure there is continuity of care on our platform so that a member has appointments with mental health providers when they need them. 

3. Community matters: When it comes to mental health support, no one should ever feel alone.

Emotional support is often left out of healthcare provided to individuals on unique paths to parenthood which is why community is a key component of our programs that fill gaps in any path to parenthood—all on one platform. For instance, members share stories and connect with others who have experienced a miscarriage or are struggling through fertility treatments. And mental health support and community forums can make a difference for couples who are navigating adoption, especially as they experience long periods of waiting and uncertainty. 

4. On-demand, virtual care breaks barriers to access.

Video and chat appointments with mental health providers any time, from the privacy of your own home or wherever you are, makes a huge difference when it comes to mental health—in terms of lowering costs, improving access, and saving time. Plus, more individuals are using virtual care generally: 74% of millennials prefer to see a doctor virtually whenever possible. We see this on Maven, as well: 1 in 3 members seek mental health support through our virtual clinic. 

5. Maven’s model of coordinated, end-to-end care drives healthier outcomes and lowers costs.

Far too often in the traditional healthcare system, care delivery is fragmented and individuals’ holistic health and well-being aren’t addressed in a coordinated way. Maven is filling these gaps for women and families: our care delivery model not only improves outcomes for individuals, but also benefits employers, including through lower costs and improved employee productivity and satisfaction.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that lost productivity due to depression costs American companies $44 billion annually. And when it comes to women and families, seeing mental health specialists in pregnancy or postpartum can directly impact costs: women who experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to deliver preterm or by C-section (which carry significantly higher costs), and women who experience postpartum depression, despite being quite common, incur 90% higher healthcare costs than those who don’t. 

Words of wisdom from a Maven Mental Health Provider

As you take a moment to reflect on what World Mental Health Day means for you, we’ll leave you with one final thought: a message from Maven Mental Health Provider Mercedes Samudio to be intentional with your self-care more regularly—words many of us may need to hear. 

"Women take on a lot of roles. We’re wives. We’re moms. We’re working. If you’re depleted in your career, take some time off. Actually schedule some vacation. If you’re a mom and you’re depleted, is there a way to pull in a nanny or home cook for a few days? Be intentional in your self-care."

“Be intentional in your self-care.”


Thoughts from our Medical Director: What everyone should know about preterm birth

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Recently, one of the infants at the hospital where I am an OB-GYN was born at just 24 weeks. For unknown reasons, her mom went into labor. Though efforts were made to stall the contractions, the labor continued and we took measures to accelerate the maturity of the fetal lungs and brain, and prevent pulmonary complications of prematurity.

At 24 weeks, a premature infant is really tiny, with fragile skin and bones. After safely delivering via C-section (which are often medically necessary for extremely preterm births), we handed the infant off to the neonatologist and their team, and they worked their magic while we sewed mom up. 

While both mom and baby face long roads ahead to recovery and physical and emotional health, I know their strength and resilience will carry them through. 

How I talk with parents about preterm birth  

Preterm birth — defined as birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. The U.S. preterm birth rate is among the worst globally, at 9.9% as of 2017 — meaning around 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely each year.[1]

Understanding and managing the risks for preterm labor is one of the core challenges for both expecting mothers and physicians. The stark reality is that preterm birth can happen to any expecting parent. But there are ways to help prevent it. 

Here’s some of the guidance I provide my patients to help manage the things they can control: 

  • Seek early and ongoing prenatal care. 

  • Wait at least 6 months between pregnancies. 

  • Don’t smoke, and avoid alcohol and illicit drugs — especially during pregnancy. 

  • Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting adequate sleep and rest, prioritizing good nutrition, and managing stress and anxiety.

Other risk factors, however, are entirely out of an individual’s control. There are racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities for preterm birth which point even further to our need for more equitable healthcare for women and families. In 2017, the preterm birth rate was nearly 50% higher among black women (14%) compared with white women (9%).[2]

Plus, an individual’s job is a risk factor: working more than 40 hours a week has been associated with a 38% higher risk of miscarriage and 21% higher risk of preterm birth, and working night shifts has also been linked to a 21% higher risk of preterm delivery.[3] Of course, we can make recommendations for a pregnant woman to work with their employer to change shifts or cut down on overtime, but options may be limited based on their job function or industry, and certain social determinants may prevent them from being able to do so. 

Understanding the hardships

Premature infants often face long NICU stays, which can mean challenging emotional journeys for families.

There are financial tolls, too, for parents and employers. The average cost for infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units is around $3,000 per day. To put that in context: the average cost to an employer for a healthy baby born at full-term, or 40 weeks’ gestation, is $2,830; and the average cost for a premature baby is $41,610.[4] 

While the majority of preterm labors are in the moderate- to late-preterm range (meaning birth between 32 to 37 weeks), the costs of extremely premature births — like this one — can run in the $100,000s. And still, these exorbitant numbers don’t include healthcare costs later in life due to complications that may result from premature birth like cerebral palsy, sensory deficits including retinopathy or hearing loss, learning disabilities, or respiratory illnesses.

How Maven is working to reduce preterm births

At Maven, we’re on a mission to reduce preterm labors and premature births by increasing access to comprehensive and holistic women’s health and prenatal care — lifting the emotional burden on families, and reducing the financial costs to individuals, employers, and health plans. 

How? Maven’s high-touch care delivery model, coupled with our clinical and patient-centered approach, means that we assess and manage members’ risks early and often in a pregnancy, and provide quality care tailored to best meet their needs. By providing empathetic, easy-to-access, end-to-end care, Maven empowers individuals with the information they need to be their healthiest selves during pregnancy. 

 

We’re on a mission to reduce preterm labors and premature births by increasing access to comprehensive and holistic women’s health and prenatal care — lifting the emotional burden on families and reducing the financial costs to individuals, employers, and health plans.”

 

Let’s dive a bit deeper into how Maven works with high-risk members starting from the moment they join: 

  1. Assessing risks early and often: Our onboarding assessment — which a Maven member is guided through on our app as soon as they join and check the box saying “I’m Pregnant” — helps identify risk factors for preterm labor, such as age, family history, if you’ve had a preterm birth before, or if you’re pregnant with more than one baby. Plus, Care Advocates’ continuous engagement with our members means we can manage risks as they emerge during pregnancy — like preeclampsia or elevated blood pressure diagnoses.

  2. Creating specialized clinical tracks for risks: When individuals are part of Maven’s high-risk pregnancy track, they receive personalized care plans that address their specific needs like managing hypertension or monitoring a shortened cervix.

  3. Coordinating high-touch care through personalized plans: For a Maven member in the high-risk pregnancy track, their Care Advocate is with them every step of the way: answering their questions and providing 1:1 support through on-demand video or messaging chats; working with them to create a personalized care plan; and helping steer them to in-person doctors in their network who specialize in their specific condition(s). Care Advocates sit at the center of a member’s Maven care team, coordinating their appointments with specialists in our network to ensure they’re speaking with the right providers at the right moments in their pregnancy. 

  4. Filling gaps in holistic care with providers across 20+ specialties: Maven’s network of more than 1600 providers across 20+ specialties are available on-demand for video and messaging appointments with no out-of-pocket costs for members — which can make a huge difference in managing risks. For instance, a high-risk member’s care team on Maven might consist of: a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (an OB-GYN who is an expert in high-risk pregnancies), a Nutritionist, a Diabetes Coach, a Physical Therapist, a Career Coach, and a Mental Health Provider. 

The bottom line 

Preterm birth can be scary, emotional, expensive, and stressful. If you know a mom who has given birth prematurely, bring her dinner. Take care of her older kids so she can visit the NICU as often as she wants. Check-in on her partner to offer emotional support or a helping hand.

If a new parent who has experienced preterm birth is your employee, work with them to set a flexible schedule for their return to work, and provide Maven as a benefit to meet their holistic needs throughout their postpartum period and transition back to work. 

 We’ve all heard the saying ‘it takes a village’, and this is one of those times when the village is needed more than ever. 

Dr. Jane van Dis is Maven’s Medical Director, a board-certified OB-GYN, and a frequent writer and speaker about gender equity in medicine. Follow her @JaneVanDis

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References:

  1. March of Dimes 2018 Premature Birth Report Card

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Preterm Birth Data

  3. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, accessed via Reuters

  4. U.S. Institute of Medicine data, accessed via Managed Care Magazine


Survey Says: Maven Milk is ‘excellent’ and benefits are ‘invaluable’

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“I work in sales and am always traveling. Maven Milk has enabled me to get my breast milk home to my baby easily and without fear that something might happen. I am so grateful to my company for giving me this benefit. I love Maven Milk!”

For Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August, we surveyed Maven’s members who use our breast milk shipping service, Maven Milk, to hear what they think and invite feedback. We’re excited to share the results, which tell us that we’re providing the stress-free, seamless support and positive experience we set out to. 

Here’s how our members responded to our survey 

92%

of members say they want to breastfeed for 7-12 months, which means they need a solution for their return to work.

91%

say they are using Maven Milk for work, while the other 9% have used Maven Milk for personal travel. 

100%

of respondents would recommend Maven Milk to a friend or colleague who is pumping and travels for their job.

Top reasons why members would recommend Maven Milk

Top answers reported by members surveyed to the question: Why would you recommend Maven Milk to a colleague or friend who is pumping and traveling for work?

What is Maven Milk? 

Maven’s easy-to-use breast milk shipping and travel kits empower working parents to continue on their nursing journey, improving health outcomes for baby and mom. Maven Milk does all the legwork for moms, delivering TSA-approved travel kits to hotels and shipping milk back home reliably and safely. We know breastfeeding can become an impossible feat when work requires time away from baby, and traveling with pumping kits and shipping breast milk are daunting tasks. Maven Milk is helping to solve those problems. 

It’s also a source of support, holistic healthcare, and clinical guidance. With Maven Milk, members have a dedicated Care Advocate who helps choose and order the perfect kit for their needs, among other things. They also have unlimited, on-demand access to Lactation Consultants in Maven’s network at any hour of the day or night for support. 

While the benefits of breast milk shipping for employees are quite clear, Maven Milk does more for your company than help you retain more working parents. Here’s how we drive outcomes for employers: 

  • Lower lifetime healthcare costs: Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and postpartum depression, according to the World Health Organization

  • Fewer medical claims: Breast milk strengthens a child’s immune system and lowers his or her chances of developing allergies. 

  • Increased productivity and engagement at work: Maven Milk reduces hours spent researching and arranging travel logistics, among other benefits. 

Here’s what members are saying about Maven Milk 

We loved hearing from our members about the support and value we’re providing them through Maven Milk, and look forward to continuing to improve upon our member experience while partnering with companies to provide this service to more working, traveling, pumping all-stars who will benefit from it. 

We’ll end with a few of our favorite member quotes from the survey.

 
I couldn’t have extended my breastfeeding relationship without the help of Maven as a working and traveling mom.
It is an easy process to request the supplies, easy to use, and easy to ship. Maven Milk helps take away some of the stress of travel as a new mother. In addition, the milk arrived home within 24 hours.
[My Maven Care Advocate] emailed and stayed in contact with me through every step. And the second time around was a breeze!
Being away from my baby is hard enough, but Maven Milk has helped me feel less guilty. I’m still able to provide her with my breast milk and not worry myself about building up a freezer stash prior to my work trips. It’s an invaluable service and one I am so grateful for.
The kit made it very easy to ship overnight and milk remained cold until delivered.