Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The MOTHERS Act

Today is blog for the MOTHERS Act. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you about the MOTHERS act and then a little bit more.

This is from Postpartum Progress and blogher on the MOTHERS Act:

What is the MOTHERS Act? The Moms Opportunity to Access Help, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, or MOTHERS Act (S. 3529), will ensure that new mothers 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. The bill is sponsored by Senators Menendez and Durbin.

Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers -- as much as 800,000 American women each year. Yet only 15 percent of these women will receive any assessment or treatment. Let me repeat. With all we know and as smart as we are, only 15% of 800,000 women will get diagnosed and treated. That is so wrong on so many levels. Women are not being diagnosed because they're not being educated and they're not being screened. Untreated, the consequences of maternal mood disorders range from chronic, disabling depression to death. The impact of untreated maternal depression on infants/children ranges from behavioral and learning disabilities to depression and, in the worst case scenarios, death from infanticide.

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. The legislation includes two grants to help healthcare providers educate, identify and treat PPD.
  • Expanding important research to improve and discover new treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers. Since the exact cause of PPD isn't known, research continues to be the key to unlocking the mystery of this condition.

The bill is currently with the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee of the Senate. If the majority of the HELP Committee members endorse the MOTHERS Act, the bill will move forward for consideration by the Senate. Without Senate sponsors, the bill could languish in committee and await reintroduction at a future date. The moms of America can't wait for that.

Most Senators rarely hear from mothers (and others!), and phone calls from you and your readers will cause them to sit up and take notice on a specific issue. Writing or sending emails has much less impact. With your support, Blog Day for the MOTHERS Act can truly have a measurable impact.

I encourage each and every one of you to contact your representatives and encourage them to sign on to this! This is so very important!

On a personal note, some of you are aware of this others are not, after Addison was born I was diagnosed with PostPartum Depression. As I put it to one friend, "The depression fairy was one of my first and only visitors after Addie was born and the bitch just wouldn't leave!". After encouragement and support from those around me I sought out counseling and have been on the road to recovery for some time now. My depression was caught early and I was able to get help, that is not always the case. It is so vitally important that we do all that we can to help other moms and families out there who are suffering with this debilitating disease!

3 comments:

Denise said...

I'm so glad you were able to get help for PPD. Thanks very much for sharing your experience and blogging about this important issue.

LunaNik said...

I cried every day, all day after Stella was born. I don't think I had full blown PPD (my solution was a part-time job at nite just to get me out of the house) but I can still relate. It's an awful feeling and it's hard for those who haven't experienced it to really understand how desperate and lonely it is to be in that place. This is such an important issue and I agree that more has to be done to help those that are suffering.

MGH Center for Women's Mental Health said...

Thanks for your support of the MOTHERS Act. Too often postpartum depression is a problem that goes unnoticed, and most women with PPD never receive any type of treatment. PPD is a treatable illness, and it is essential that we continue to educate ourselves and others about this important issue.

For more information on PPD, visit us at The MGH Center for Women's Mental Health

 
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