This week, I was thrilled to recieve word from NASW’s national office in DC, that they are officially endorsing The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, leading the way for state chapters to also begin working locally on growing constituent and legislative support/sponsorship.
As a social worker who is very proud of the profession’s contributions to mental health and health care initiatives, this welcome endorsement signifies that we can now reach out to the enormous body of social work healthcare providers and affiliated organizations who represent the front lines of assessment, identification and treatment of these disorders.
We are thankful for the endorsement of this powerful and dedicated group and look forward to working with them to do all we can to ensure passage of this long overdue legislation!
Social workers not only provide education and outreach to new mothers in neonatal and OB/GYN practices across America in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, they are also among the top providers of mental health services. This sometimes comes as a surprise to consumers who may associate the profession with policy development, governmental agency work and discharge planning; all worthy and critical social work roles of great responsibility. But additionally, licensed clinical social workers are increasingly charged with crucial psychosocial assessments, psycho education and mental health interventions during pregnancy, the postpartum and throughout the many challenges which may present across the life cycle.
Social workers can be agency or private practitioners with specialties in women’s reproductive mental health and also act as maternal and child care advocates. Their licensure requires constant training and education making them among the most reliable professionals for referral of services. They have historically been connected to every initiaitve seeking to reduce barriers to the services that American families need to optimize mental and physical health.
The biopsychosocial perspective of the social work profession is well aligned with the profound biological, psychological and social shifts of new parenthood as are the initiatives of this legislation! The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act includes proposals for increased education, research, public awareness campaigns and advocacy, all of which fall into the realm of social work. Therefore, the inclusion of this respected profession adds even more impetus to the bill’s consideration and passage.
NASW now joins the list of many other nationally respected professions and organizations charged or associated with the care of mothers and infants, all of whom understand that the time is now to bring mothers out of their isolated suffering to the relief of support and treatment.
A current list of the bill’s sponsors follows below. Please don’t forget to visit the DBSA website and sign your own letter in support of this legislation. Our goal is 100,000 signatures by MOTHERS Day!
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