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FINAL SUMMARY OF THE MELANIE BLOCKER STOKES MOTHERS ACT

 
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By Susan Dowd Stone

The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, sponsored by Senators Menendez, Durbin and Snowe, will help provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis and will also help educate mothers and their families about these conditions. In addition, it will support research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis.

UNDERSTANDING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Postpartum depression is a devastating mood disorder which strikes many women during and after pregnancy. It is a serious and disabling condition that affects anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers. In the United States, there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year. These mothers often experience signs of depression and may lose interest in friends and family, feel overwhelming sadness or even have thoughts of harming the baby or themselves. The cause of postpartum depression is not known, but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, a family history of depression and other biopsychosocial stressors are considered possible factors.

SUPPORTERS
Postpartum Support International
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
American Psychological Association
American Psychiatric Association
Children’s Defense Fund
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
March of Dimes
Mental Health America
American College of Nurse Midwives
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Suicide Prevention Action Network USA
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
National Partnership for Women & Families
OWL- The Voice of Midlife and Older Women
National Women’s Law Center

SUMMARY OF THE LEGISLATION
Section 1: Short title of the bill- The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.

TITLE I- Research
• Encourages HHS to coordinate and continue research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and find treatments for, postpartum conditions.

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