Thanks to the work of APA's Public Interest Government Relations staff and members like Susan Benjamin Feingold, PsyD, of Chicago, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (H.R. 20).
"Today we have turned a corner by acknowledging that postpartum depression really does exist and it needs to be treated," said Feingold at a press conference hosted by bill-sponsor Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). "To better help women experiencing this debilitating disease, we need to understand it better, to research the causes and find new ways to treat it. Postpartum depression needs to be treated by mental health professionals that are educated about this illness and know how to provide appropriate treatment. H.R. 20 will accomplish this goal."
First introduced in 2001, the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act sought to ensure that women at risk for or with the condition are provided adequate and timely prevention and mental health services. In particular, the legislation would authorize:
The National Institutes of Health to expand and intensify research and related activities on postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.
Grants to establish, operate and coordinate effective and cost-efficient systems for the delivery of essential services to individuals with postpartum depression and their families.
The provision of technical assistance to grant recipients.
The legislation now goes to the Senate.
APA urges the swift passage of this vital piece of legislation and encourages members to contact their senators and ask that they support the bill. For more information, visit www.apa.org/ppo/issues/pwomen.html.