From PSI and Leading Advocate Susan Stone for the Federal Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act to provide federal funding for perinatal mood disorders:
We have spent the past weeks celebrating the historic passage of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act initiatives in healthcare reform; but there is one more step of advocacy we need from everyone RIGHT NOW that will greatly benefit the work all of you do for mothers and families in your communities! The good news is that it will take only five minutes and involves two phone calls. But we need your help by next Tuesday, June 22nd.
While development/assignment of the initiatives for research and public awareness campaigns are already law and will be budgeted accordingly, the 3 million dollars for grants to fund responsive community programs from many sectors needs to pass through the appropriations committee.
There are many fantastic organizations and programs out there whose funding could mightily contribute to the sustainment and formation of national, replicable blueprints for programmatic response to postpartum depression issues. Perhaps you or your organization have ideas for programs you would like to implement.
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Bobby L. Rush, are asking you to encourage your state senators and Congressman to “sign” the letter below.
All you need to do is 1 – call your two state Senators and 2 – the Congressperson representing your district to indicate you would like them to “sign” this letter.
If you are calling your state senator, please refer to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez’s letter regarding funding for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act; If calling your Congressman, please refer to Congressman Bobby L. Rush’s letter in support of funding for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.
To find the phone number for your state senator click here.
To find the U.S. Congressman/woman representing your district, click here.
Dear (Chair and Raking Members of Senate/House Appropriations Committee):
We are writing (calling) to express our strong support of funding for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, which was signed into law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Section 2952 of P.L. 111-148). This provision has the support of over 20 national organizations, and we believe that it deserves priority consideration during the appropriations process.
This new law authorizes $3 million for a grant program to provide services to women with postpartum depression. Therefore, we respectfully urge you to provide initial funding of $3 million in FY 2011 to make this important program a reality.
The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act 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.
As you know, postpartum depression is a devastating mood disorder which strikes many women during and after pregnancy. It is a serious and disabling condition that affects 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 agitation or depression and may lose interest in friends and family, feel overwhelming sadness or even have thoughts of harming the baby or themselves. Unfortunately, in the most extreme cases some mothers have acted on those thoughts.
The funding we are requesting would go toward the creation of a grant program for the establishment, operation, and coordination of effective and cost-efficient systems for the delivery of essential services to individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions and their families.
Local community organizations, hospitals or even state or local governments would be able to apply for funding to provide education and services with respect to the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression. For instance, if the recipient is a medical facility, the grants could be used to educate new mothers and family members about postpartum depression before new mothers leave the health facility.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. By providing $3 million in FY 2011, we will be able to begin implementing this important program in communities across the country. We look forward to working with you on this important program.
Susan Dowd Stone, MSW, LCSW
Chair, President’s Advisory Council, Postpartum Support International
Board Member, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
NJHSS Certified Perinatal Mood Disorders Instructor
Adjunct Lecturer, Silver School of Social Work, New York University
Public Reviewer, NIMH
Author/editor Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders: Perspectives and Treatment Guide for the Healthcare Practitioner (Springer,08)