Helping Women with Depression
A few weeks ago, the health care liaison from Senator Dick Durbin's office called me indicating they were having a hard time making headway with a bill called "The MOTHER's Act." It had been introduced in 2007 on Mother's Day, in honor of a woman named Melanie Blocker-Stokes, to create more funding for reach on postpartum depression (PPD) and make more money available for treatment.
Here is the mind-blowing part: other senators had been getting letters opposed to the bill because some groups are claiming it's just a conspiracy to push new mothers into taking medication. Some members of this quasi-religious group (Who in the world would join a religion created by a science-fiction writer? But hey, that's just me) are even saying that Melanie Blocker-Stokes, who took her own life after suffering with this illness, was simply "just sad." Tell that to the more than 800,000 women who will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! And this number doesn't include the 7.5% of women who will develop major depression during pregnancy.
Oh yeah...just sad. This is stigma pure and simple. And we need to act.
So far, over 16,000 people have clicked into DBSA's Legislative Action Center to send letters to their Senators and Representatives about the Senate postpartum bill and its House version. I urge you to take 30 seconds and send a letter now.
Concurrent with this initiative—it is the month of Mother's Day, after all—DBSA has posted a Women's Health page on our website, with tools and information for women and their families and loved ones. Visit our page to find ways to empower the women you know who might be facing postpartum depression, depression or bipolar disorder. Your mother would be proud.