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Opinion: Massachusetts Postpartum Depression Screenings Act considered as statewide way of identifying cases, providing early intervention



Opinion: Bill H.2163: An Act Relative to Postpartum Depression Screenings is being considered as a statewide way of identifying cases and providing early intervention.

The recent Fall River Reporter article “Sponsors see momentum behind Massachusetts postpartum-psychosis bill”, published on May 18, 2023, sheds light onto the postpartum mental health issue across the state of Massachusetts. The statistics surrounding postpartum depression (PPD) along with the lack of adequate, standardized screening are alarming. A major statistic that is alarming is that 50% of women with postpartum depression are never diagnosed. If postpartum depression is left untreated, the condition can become more severe and can lead to complications such as severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or even postpartum psychosis. Additionally, there are many populations of individuals that are at a greater risk of developing PPD and not being properly screened. These populations include minorities (especially Hispanic women), younger women, unmarried women, women with babies in the NICU, women giving birth to preterm babies, and many other populations.

The article explains that mothers are experiencing punishments for behaviors resulting from PPD or psychosis but are not receiving adequate treatment after being deemed incompetent to stand trial or not guilty due to a mental illness. The article emphasizes that PPD is the number one complication in pregnancy, and it occurs on a spectrum from mild to full psychosis. However, this can be treated effectively with prompt screening. While postpartum psychosis is rare with only one to two cases out of 1,000 births, that is still 140 women in Massachusetts alone experiencing this complication. Postpartum depression can be treated promptly and effectively when standardized screening is implemented.

Bill H.2163 is currently at the Joint Committee of Public Health which had a hearing on June 6th, 2023, at Gardner Auditorium. This bill has until July 30th, 2024, to become an actual law. This bill will help standardize PPD screening across all patients regardless of the amount of risk factors they have. The bill will also provide coverage of the screenings that pediatricians will provide during any visit at the pediatrician’s office up to 1 year postpartum. This helps to reduce any reasoning that postpartum screenings are not occurring due to costs. As mentioned in the article, PPD is the number one complication resulting from pregnancy, but screening is still not standardized across all areas of care. Bill H.2163 is the first step to minimizing the excuses behind the lack of screening. Please contact your legislature in support of Bill H.2163. Postpartum depression does not only impact the women, but entire families across the state of Massachusetts.”

Savanha Laroche and Sarah Hurteau

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fed Up

    December 10, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    ” 50% of women with postpartum depression are never diagnosed ” How the hell would they know this if they were never diagnosed to begin with? A number they just pulled out of their behinds. The WITCH’s picture you posted was being ” treated ” and their treatment is medication , medication and more medication. With a warning on the medication that states ” may increase suicidal ideation ” So left untreated things could go South treated things can still go South. For decades the drug industry and the medical field have been experimenting on people with extremely dangerous drugs, medicating very young children for ADHD and teens who have angst with so called anti-depressants now they’ve moved on to latest craze ” trans ” with puberty blockers to testosterone for girls. The whole medical community of complicit. So much for the Hypocritic oath ” Do no harm “

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