The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act
(Mary Jo Codey, Senator Menendez, Brooke Shields, Sylvia Lasalandra, Susan Stone)
The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, sponsored by Senators Menendez and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), 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.
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 agitation or 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.
Read More About Understanding the MOTHERS Act
The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act is designed to help new mothers get through postpartum depression and to help scientist get to the bottom of it. Education, support services and research – those are the three areas in which the MOTHERS Act will begin building what will hopefully become a long-lasting and effective federal initiative to combat this debilitating condition. Here are some commonly asked questions – and answers – about the new law:
Q: Some people still think postpartum depression is just the “baby blues.” Will this law help raise awareness of PPD – both for new mothers and the general public?
A: Absolutely. It will help initiate a National Public Awareness Campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and psychosis. This could include public service announcements on TV and radio that emphasize the basics of PDD and awareness about screening.
Q: We still have a lot to learn about why women get postpartum depression and how best to help them with treatment. How will this law help get us that information?
A: This law will help scientists get to the bottom of postpartum depression. The federal government will coordinate and continue research on the causes of PPD and hopefully develop new methods of treatment, which will ultimately help inform doctors and other medical professionals.
Q: Will new support services for mothers suffering from PPD be available?
A: This law encourages the creation of a program to give grants to start local support service programs – one that will hopefully grow over time as it is proven effective. Local community organizations, hospitals or even state or local governments can apply for funding to provide education and services with respect to the diagnosis and management of PPD.
The grants could also be used to provide education about postpartum conditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment. For instance, if the recipient is a medical facility, the grants could be used to educate new mothers and family members about postpartum depression before new mothers leave the health facility.
Q: What does this new law include on screening for postpartum depression?
A: It sets a path toward the most effective screening and diagnostic techniques with a new federal study over the next two years. It allows for increased awareness about screening.
It is also worth pointing out that the health insurance reform law requires that all new insurance plans cover comprehensive women’s preventative care and screenings.
SITES SUPPORTING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
|Childbirth Connection||Children’s Defense Fund||American College of Nurse Midwives|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists||American Psychiatric Association||American Psychological Association|
|Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses||Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance||Family Mental Health Foundation|
|Guttmacher||Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation||Jenny's Light|
|March of Dimes||Melanie Blocker Stokes Foundation||Mental Health America|
|NARAL, Pro-Choice America||National Alliance on Mental Illness||National Association of Social Workers|
|National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare||National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition||National Women's Law Center|
|North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology||Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health||Planned Parenthood Federation of America|
|Postpartum Support International||Suicide Prevention Action Network USA||What To Expect Foundation|
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