Recently, the Melanie Blocker Stoke MOTHERS Act, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, passed in the House and has now been referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. It is intended to “provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis.”
The legislation provides for research on the causes, frequency, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, as well as “Information and education programs for health care professionals and the public, which may include a coordinated national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of postpartum conditions.”
It also allows grants to be made to support programs that provide health care, support services and education to new mothers and their families and individuals at risk for postpartum depression, and to make sure health care providers are properly trained about postpartum conditions.
The bill [HR 20] passed the House by a wide margin, with only 8 votes (all Republican) against passage. It has been sponsored in the Senate by Robert Menendez of New Jersey as S 324.
Perinatal Pro has been providing information on the legislation and have a list of organizations who have signed on in support of the bill – information for those wishing to register their support (including individuals, organizations, and blogs) is provided here. Katherine Stone at the blog Postpartum Progress and the folks at the Postpartum Dads Project have also been writing in support of the MOTHERS Act, and Postpartum Support International – a good general resource on this issue – is posting legislative updates.