The “Melanie Blocker-Stokes Moms’ Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression Act” or more commonly known as the “Melanie Blocker-Stokes MOTHERS Act” is causing a surprising petition war on Capitol Hill.
The Act calls for federal funding of research to identify causes of and treatment for postpartum depression (PPD), as well as the development of enhanced screening techniques and public education of the condition, symptoms, and treatment methods.
Opponents of the bill fear the overuse of psychotropic drugs to treat mothers with symptoms of PPD. Other experts are concerned that women who suffer from depression may not be properly diagnosed for conditions other than PPD. Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, director of women’s studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia, best addressed the diverging views in pointing out that the arguments over PPD screening should not been seen as mutually exclusive:
“The problem with women’s reproductive-health issues is that they tend to be ignored or exaggerated,” she says. “We need to find a way to come down in the middle: acknowledge women’s depression but not assume that all women who struggle with the transition to motherhood are depressed.”
PPD is a women’s mental health issue that is often overlooked and undiagnosed. It is an issue that can no longer go unrecognized and with the MOTHERS Act in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, it might not have to for much longer.