Posted by Peggy Kaufman, Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support®
I am overjoyed to announce that the “Postpartum Depression Bill,” House Bill 4859, has passed in Massachusetts. The Center for Early Relationship Support has been involved in advocating for this legislation since State Representative Ellen Story began working on this issue over two years ago. I was honored to help write the bill and to testify at the bill’s hearing in January, along with Kate Weldon LeBlanc, CERS Administrative Director. We are so excited that it has been approved.
H. 4859 will address postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and other postpartum adjustment disorders by convening a commission including survivors, nurses, doctors, insurers, advocates, and legislators to draw public attention to PPD and recommend policies to address it. The bill also calls on the state Department of Public Health to pull together referral lists of treatment and support resources, such as our Early Connections program and weekly PPD support group, and to educate providers and the public about this common and treatable mental health condition. Though 15% of mothers suffer from PPD, it is still widely unrecognized and often needlessly goes untreated, so hopefully this bill will help change that.
We are so grateful to Rep. Story and all our fellow advocates for their commitment to passing this bill. We’ll keep you posted as this policy moves forward, and in the meantime, please let us know what you think about this legislation!
Peggy Kaufman is the Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support at JF&CS.