This morning I was pleased to join U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey, Audrey Meyers, President of Valley Hospital, Dr. Fred Rezvani, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Sylvia Lasalandra, author of A Daughter’s Touch, at a Valley Hospital, Ridgewood NJ press conference to galvanize awareness and continue the national momentum in support of The Melanie Blocker Stokes Mothers Act.
The responsive audience and numerous press representatives asked many excellent questions which gave an opportunity to address misconceptions about S 324 and talk about the fantastic opportunity this legislation presents to end the preventable suffering of thousands of America’s mothers. Senator Menendez clarified that the bill does NOT mandate screening, but will seek research into the most efficacious methods of identifying these illnesses for earlier treatment and prevention.
Dr. Fred Rezvani, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ, emphasized the need to include all forms of treatment for new mothers suffering from these disorders including nutrition, massage and acupuncture and other complementary therapies, to home services, social support and psychological counseling. The bill will provide funding and make grants available to private, non profit or public entities for many forms of services supportive to new mothers.
As our most socially and economically disadvantaged mothers have increased risk for the development of these disorders, only a federal mandate will ensure that all mothers have access to the services and healthcare needed to bring recovery.
Senator Menendez was presented with a petition of national organizations and individual constituents representing millions of Americans who understand the need for this legislation can no longer be ignored. With the bipartisan support that currently exists for the legislation, its likelihood of passage among the priority of healthcare reform seems likely, but the advocacy efforts must continue! The entire audience expressed their thanks to Senator Menendez for his determined advocacy on behalf of America’s mothers.
Please make your voice known! If you have not yet done so, please visit http://www.perinatalpro.com/ppdlegislation.html sign the online petition and show your support for this critical federal legislation.
MENENDEZ, MARY JO CODEY, ADVOCATES JOIN IN A MOTHER’S DAY PUSH FOR LEGISLATION TO COMBAT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Menendez’s MOTHERS Act needs final push for passage in Congress
WASHINGTON – US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey, other advocates and health professionals today gathered at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood to push for the passage of Menendez’s legislation that would increase the federal commitment to combating postpartum depression. The MOTHERS Act has wide support in Congress, but has been blocked primarily because of the opposition of a singular senator, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). Codey has been public about her battle with postpartum depress and in support of the legislation.
Senator Menendez said: “Mother’s Day was not only a day to celebrate our mothers, but also to reflect on the burdens and challenges many of them face because of their enormous responsibility. Millions of mothers know all too well that postpartum depression is not only a real and debilitating condition, but that the education and support system is lacking. A federal commitment to educating and supporting new and expectant mothers can go a long way toward protecting women’s health and maintaining strong families.”
Mary Jo Codey said: “I would pray to St.Jude, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases, that if I could get out of this very dark and devastating depression, I would make it my mission to help all women and families suffering with this horrible illness called postpartum depression. I would make sure that these women and families wouldn’t have to suffer the same pain as I did. This is why I am so committed to seeing the MOTHERS Act passed into law.”
Susan Stone Chair of the President’s Advisory Council for Postpartum Support International said: “The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, with its multifaceted and prosocial initiatives, will unite the pivotal communities of education, medicine, psychiatry, research and social support to better protect our nation’s most critical social dyad of mother and child from the devastation of maternal mood disorders. We salute Senator Robert Menendez for continuing to champion this life-saving legislation for the betterment of maternal, infant and family health.”
Sylvia Lasalandra Frodella, a New Jersey-based postpartum depression advocate and author, said: “The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS ACT will inform all women that they don’t have to suffer in shame or silence, if she’s confronted with feelings of depression following the birth of her newborn. It will help alter this nation into one that recognizes that postpartum depression is not a badge of dishonor but, rather, an obstacle that can be overcome by new mothers with support, education, counseling, and the early intervention of their family and loved ones.”
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.
For more information, please contact Senator Menendez’s press office at 202-224-4744