Saturday, May 12, 2007
A MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE ON POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:
SEN. MENENDEZ AND REP. RUSH JOINED ON CAPITOL HILL BY BROOKE SHIELDS, MARY JO CODEY AND OTHERS
MOTHERS Act introduced in Senate, similar to Melanie Blocker-Stokes Act in House
WASHINGTON – A group of lawmakers and postpartum depression awareness advocates joined today on Capitol Hill in a call for an increased federal commitment to combating postpartum depression. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) – along with actress Brooke Shields, former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey, Carol Blocker and other leading advocates – announced today’s introduction of The MOTHERS Act in the Senate.
The bill is similar to Rep. Rush’s Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (H.R. 20), which has been introduced in the House of Representatives. “Moving forward on legislation to address postpartum depression would be a terrific Mother’s Day gift for the hundreds of thousands of new mothers who are struggling with this serious condition,” said Sen. Menendez. “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.
I would like to thank Representative Rush for his leadership, as well as Mary Jo Codey, Brooke Shields, Carol Blocker and the other leading advocates in attendance for their commitment to beating this often debilitating condition.” “We must not stop until new mothers facing depression are given new hope. I believe that after six long years, Congress is now poised to finally do the right thing for millions of mothers,” said Rep. Rush. “As we honor not only Mother’s Day, but also recognizing that May is Mental Health Month, we must not stop until research, screening, treatment and prevention of postpartum depression is the law of the land.” 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: · Requiring medical professionals to educate new mothers and their families about postpartum depression before they leave the hospital,
· Offering the opportunity for new mothers to be screened for postpartum depression symptoms during the first year of postnatal check-up visits,
· Providing social services to new mothers suffering from postpartum depression and their families,
· Increasing funding for research on postpartum conditions at the National Institutes of Health. 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. To view a short video of segments of the press conference, click on the headline.
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