Menendez, Durbin Bill To Fight Ravages Of Postpartum Depression

Menendez, Durbin Bill To Fight Ravages Of Postpartum Depression

Legislation proposes education, research grants to increase awareness and treatment of PPD

Washington - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) today announced legislation that aims to eradicate the devastating effects of postpartum depression on American families. The legislation, introduced in the Senate earlier this week, proposes grants to better increase education and access to screenings for new mothers and to increase research into this difficult illness. The bill also proposes grants to health care providers, to facilitate the delivery of healthcare to those suffering from postpartum depression.

We must attack postpartum depression on all fronts with education, screening, support, and research so that new moms can feel supported and safe rather than scared and alone, Menendez said. Many new mothers sacrifice anything and everything to provide feelings of security and safety to their innocent, newborn child. It is our duty to provide the same level of security, safety and support to new mothers in need.

The MOTHERS Act was introduced in response to a recently passed, first-of-its-kind New Jersey law requiring doctors and nurses to educate and screen expectant mothers about PPD. This state bill was introduced by State Senate President Richard Codey whose wife, Mary Jo Codey, suffered from PPD.

A major part of prevention is informing new mothers about the symptoms and providing them with the services that are available in their community. This bill helps mothers by providing important education and screening on postpartum depression that can lead to early identification and treatment. The two grants help health care providers educate, identify and treat PPD.

Because the exact cause of PPD isnt known, research continues to be the key to unlocking the mystery of this condition. This legislation incorporates House legislation, the Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, which would expand and intensify research at the National Institutes of Health with respect to PPD and psychosis, including increased discovery of treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers.

Many women have successfully recovered from postpartum depression with the help of therapy, medication, and support groups, Menendez said. By increasing education and early treatment of postpartum depression, mothers, husbands, and families, will be able to recognize the symptoms of this condition and help new mothers get the treatment they need and deserve.

This legislation is supported by a wide range of medical professional and health advocacy organizations, including: Postpartum Support International, Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Family Mental Health Institute, Inc., American College of Nurse Midwives, National Mental Health Association, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Illinois Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Psychiatric Association, and the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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The Moms Opportunity To Access Help, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression (MOTHERS) Act

Introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Durbin (D-IL)

The MOTHERS Act will ensure that new moms and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services. In addition, it will increase research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression.

Specifically, the MOTHERS Act will help new moms by:

Providing important education and screening on postpartum depression (PPD) that can lead to early identification and treatment. A major part of prevention is informing new mothers about the symptoms and providing them with the services that are available in their community. Thus, this legislation includes two grants to help health care providers educate, identify and treat PPD. Awards grants to States so that local health care providers (physicians, nurse midwives, and other licensed health care professionals) can educate women who have recently given birth and their families about PPD before the mothers leave the birthing center and offer the opportunity for new mothers to be screened for postpartum depression symptoms during the first year of postnatal check-up visits. Awards grants to States and local governments, public or non-profit hospitals and community based organizations for the delivery of essential services to individuals with postpartum depression and psychosis and their families, including enhanced outpatient and home-based health care, inpatient care and support services. Expanding important research to improve and discover new treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers. Since the exact cause of PPD isnt known, research continues to be the key to unlocking the mystery of this condition.

This legislation incorporates a House bill, the Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, which would expand and intensify research at the NIH with respect to PPD and psychosis, including increased discovery of treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers.

New Jerseys Lead on Postpartum Depression PolicyThe MOTHERS Act was introduced in response to a recently passed, first-of-its-kind New Jersey law requiring doctors and nurses to educate and screen expectant mothers about PPD. This state bill was introduced by State Senate President Richard Codey whose wife, Mary Jo Codey, suffered from PPD.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition that affects anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.

1. In the United States, there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year. 2. In New Jersey alone there are 11,000-16,000 cases of PPD each year. 3. 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. 4. The cause of PPD isnt known but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, and a family history of depression are considered possible factors.

Endorsements:Postpartum Support International, Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Family Mental Health Institute, Inc., American College of Nurse Midwives, National Mental Health Association (and the New Jersey Chapter), The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI),Illinois Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Psychiatric Association, New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG)

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