Clark praises plan to ensure coverage for postpartum depression
Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Katherine Clark issued the following statement regarding the United States Preventative Services Task Force's groundbreaking recommendation that women should be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth, thereby allowing for coverage of such screenings under the Affordable Care Act. The announcement follows state and national efforts to spotlight treatment of postpartum depression, including Clark's bill, the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act.
"The success of our families begins with the health of moms and babies, and today's announcement is a major turning point in how we care for families," said Clark. "Pregnant women and new moms need to know that they are not alone, that their suffering matters, and that postpartum depression can be treated. I hope Congress will follow this example and ensure that health providers have the resources they need by passing the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act."
Nationwide, an estimated 1 in 7 new mothers experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can last for months or even years, occasionally transforming into a chronic depressive disorder. It can increase risk for anxiety, cognitive impairment, guilt, and self-blame. Children of mothers with untreated postpartum depression may have difficulties eating and sleeping, and often experience delays in language development. Additionally, infants may develop passivity, withdrawal, and self-regulatory behavior as a response to maternal disengagement. Postpartum depression is treatable in 90 percent of cases. Clark's Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act builds upon existing state and local efforts by providing federal grants to assist states in developing programs to better screen and treat postpartum depression. More information about the bill can be found here.