Menendez, Mary Jo Codey, Advocates Join In A Mother's Day Push For Legislation To Combat Postpartum Depression

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.

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