Perinatal Pro Weekly Blog

 

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez Reintroduces Important Postpartum Depression Legislation in 111th Congress
 
Today, I had the joy of participating in a conference call with the office of Senator Menendez and the other organizational sponsors of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. We received the heads up that U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was hoping to reintroduce the bill today. And as of this afternoon, that is exactly what he has done!!.  For hundreds of thousands of American mothers and families, this renews the hope that 2009 and will indeed be the year when Congress acknowledges our nation’s mothers by addressing the full spectrum of maternal experience and finally passes this legislation .
 
 The statistics we have on the incidence of postpartum mood disorders (which range from 12 – 22% in the research) easily exceeds the qualifications of a public health crisis and these statistics, do NOT include the suffering of women who miscarry, endure stillbirths, or terminate pregnancies, all of whom are also susceptible to these devastating disorders.
 
It is not too soon to begin contacting the senators in your state to let them know you support this long overdue legislation!!  Thank you to Senator Robert Menendez and the bill’s other leading cosponsors, Senators Richard Durbin, (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).  And while you are at it, feel free to express your support to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez for whose steadfast determination we are so very grateful.
 
The latest copy of the The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, follows the official press release below!
 

Senator Menendez begins push in 111th Congress

MOTHERS Act reintroduced in Senate, was close to passage last year 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today officially kicked off his efforts to secure an increased federal commitment to combating postpartum depression by reintroducing the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in the Senate. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), has support from Senate leadership. It was nearing passage last year, despite being blocked from a vote on the Senate floor by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has objected to this and other bills targeting specific diseases on ideological grounds.

 “We gained significant support for this effort to combat postpartum depression over the last two years, which makes me optimistic that we will be able to deliver this gift to new mothers,” said Senator Menendez. “Increasingly, my colleagues in the Senate are learning about the vicious, debilitating nature of postpartum depression and how it affects families, and they understand why this initiative is so important. We have to attack postpartum depression on all fronts – with education, support, and research – so that new moms can feel supported and safe rather than scared and alone.”

 Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition affecting hundreds of thousands of new mothers each year. The new legislation would increase federal efforts to combat postpartum depression by:

 Encouraging Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate and continue research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and find treatments for, postpartum conditions. 

  • Encouraging a National Public Awareness Campaign, to be administered by HHS, to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and psychosis. 
  • Requiring the Secretary of HHS to conduct a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. 
  • Creating a grant program to public or nonprofit private entities to deliver or enhance outpatient, inpatient and home-based health and support services, including case management and comprehensive treatment services for individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions.  Activities may also include providing education about postpartum conditions to new mothers and their families, including symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources, in order to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment.

 It is estimated that postpartum depression (PPD) affects from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers. In the United States, there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year.  The cause of PPD isn’t known but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, and a family history of depression are considered possible factors.

   The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act (S.    / H.R. 20)

The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, sponsored by Senator Menendez and Representative Rush, will help provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis and will also help educate mothers and their families about these conditions.  In addition, it will support research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis.


 Specifically this bill will:

 Increase Research on Postpartum Depression

·        Encourages Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate and continue research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and find treatments for, postpartum conditions. 

·        Encourages a National Public Awareness Campaign, to be administered by HHS, to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and psychosis. 

·        Requires the Secretary of HHS to conduct a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. 

·        Includes a Sense of Congress that the Director of the National Institutes of Health may conduct a nationally representative longitudinal study of the relative mental health consequences for women of resolving a pregnancy (intended or unintended) in various ways, including carrying the pregnancy to term and parenting the child, carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the child for adoption, miscarriage, and having an abortion. 

 

 

Support Those Struggling with Postpartum Depression

·        Creates a grant program to public or nonprofit private entities to deliver or enhance outpatient, inpatient and home-based health and support services, including case management and comprehensive treatment services for individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions.  Activities may also include providing education about postpartum conditions to new mothers and their families, including symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources, in order to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment.

 

Funding

·        Authorizes $3,000,000 for fiscal year 2009; and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

 

 

###

 

 

 

 

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a devastating mood disorder which strikes many women during and after pregnancy.  It is a serious and disabling condition that affects anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.  In the United States, there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year.  These mothers often experience signs of depression and may lose interest in friends and family, feel overwhelming sadness or even have thoughts of harming the baby or themselves.  The cause of postpartum depression is not known, but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, a family history of depression and other biopsychosocial stressors are considered possible factors.

 

Supporters

American College of Nurse Midwives

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American Psychological Association

American Psychiatric Association

Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs

Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Children’s Defense Fund

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Family Mental Health Foundation

Guttmacher

Kristin Brooks Hope Center

March of Dimes

Melanie Blocker Stokes Foundation

Mental Health America

NARAL, Pro-Choice America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Women’s Law Center

OWL- The Voice of Midlife and Older Women

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Postpartum Support International

Suicide Prevention Action Network USA

 

 

 

 

Share
This entry was posted in Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, postpartum depression, Susan Dowd Stone, U. S. Senator Robert Menendez and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Perinatal Pro Weekly Blog

  1. Pingback: MOTHERS Act Reintroduced to 111th Congress « Ivy’s PPD Blog

Leave a Reply