The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act — named for an Illinois woman who committed suicide three months after giving birth — was approved by the House of Representatives in October. This article from the North Jersey Record reports that the legislation has been held up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

Opposition comes from those who fear that the MOTHERS Act advocates the use of psychotropic medications.

While antidepressant medications may be used to treat postpartum depression and have been demonstrated to be highly effective, it should be noted that this legislation in no way mandates the use of medications. The legislation simply calls for increasing the recognition of postpartum depression and improving access to resources for women who suffer from this illness.

By identifying women with postpartum depression, we can make sure that women with this disorder get the support and treatment they need. There is ample evidence to support the use of psychotherapy in this population. Multiple studies indicate that medications are also highly effective for treating postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is an illness which affects nearly one million American women each year, yet it has typically been overlooked so that most women with this illness receive no treatment whatsoever.

To sign a petition supporting the MOTHERS Act, please click here.