Clark, Costello introduce bill to combat postpartum depression

Washington, D.C. –Today, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass) and Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) introduced the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, legislation to increase and improve screening and treatment for women with postpartum depression. At least 400,000 women suffer from postpartum depression each year, and yet it is estimated that only 15 percent receive treatment. Clark’s bill builds upon existing state and local efforts by providing federal grants to assist states in developing programs to better screen and treat postpartum depression.

“We want mothers to know that they are not alone, their suffering matters, and that needing help doesn’t make them a bad mom,” said Clark. “For too long, stigma and silence have been the biggest barriers to getting women the medical attention they need and deserve. The Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act takes an important step in breaking through that stigma, and gives care providers the tools they need to recognize, talk about, and treat postpartum depression.”

“Every year thousands of mothers experience postpartum depression, yet we know it is a treatable condition,” said Congressman Ryan Costello. “I have joined with Congresswoman Clark to introduce the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, which would lend a helping hand by providing more resources for states so that new mothers can get the screening and treatment they need for a successful recovery.”

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.

The Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act has received the support of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.