Update 12/8/16, 9:00am: The bill passed the Senate and Obama is expected to sign within two weeks!

KSWB Fox5 San Diego invited me back yesterday to talk about some exciting news in Postpartum Mental Health policy. Last week the US House of Representatives passed the “Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act” sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark.

Bill passes to help Bring Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows

The new bill will provide funding to develop and maintain programs for better screening and treatment of postpartum depression, which affects 1 in 7 women. I shared in January about the US Preventative Services Task Force’s recommendations that all adults, especially pregnant and postpartum women, be screened for depression. This time, there’s money! $5 million per year in federal grants to develop and maintain programs for better screening and treatment of postpartum depression. The panel did recommend universal screening, but it was vague about how it would be accomplished. This bill, if it also passes the Senate, funds it through 2020.

From the text of the bill:

  • Every year, more than 400,000 infants are born to mothers who have depression, which makes perinatal depression the most under-diagnosed obstetric complication in the United States.
  • The consequences of maternal depression include poor bonding between mother and infant, which may have negative effects on cognitive development, social-emotional development, and behavior of the child.
  • Maternal suicide exceeds hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders as a cause of maternal mortality.
  • Ninety percent of women who have maternal depression can be treated successfully with a combination of medication and counseling.

Kudos to Representative Clark and her good work on this and many other topics. I think she might secretly be a social worker.

Who is in support of postpartum women?

From Clark’s press release: “The Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act has received the support of the 2020 Mom, American Academy of Nursing, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Psychological Association, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, March of Dimes, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s HealthNational Coalition for Maternal Mental Health, National WIC Association, Postpartum Progress Inc., Postpartum Support International, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Zero to Three.” That’s some good company!


This clip originally aired on Fox5 KSWB TV Morning News on 12-5-16 at 7:13am. Uploaded with the permission of the station.

Bill text: United States Government Publishing Office. H.R. 3235 (IH) – BRINGING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OUT OF THE SHADOWS ACT OF 2015

Press release: http://katherineclark.house.gov/index.cfm/2016/11/house-passes-clark-postpartum-depression-legislation

Thanks for the trust and the soapbox

With thanks to KSWB San Diego for keeping Postpartum Mental Health out of the shadows. This was the fourth time they trusted me to speak. You can find other clips on my media page.

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