Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) officially kicked off his efforts to secure an increased federal commitment to combating postpartum depression by reintroducing the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in the Senate. Yes, you’ve probably heard of this bill before, since it has been sitting around in one form or another in Congress for YEARS (through no fault of the people who have sponsored it). Let’s hope this time’s the charm. I’m personally grateful to Senator Menendez for keeping up the pressure.

The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act won’t be the final answer when it comes to helping all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. It’s just a start, but one that is desperately needed. I hate that we even need the government to get involved in order to get these illnesses the proper attention, but that is the current situation. Perinatal mental health just isn’t on the radar screen when compared to other mental health issues or other women’s health issues. It’s not even anywhere near the radar, or the room where the radar is held.

The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act will require more research, create a grant program for the delivery of services and encourage a public awareness campaign. I hope, when finally passed, it is properly funded so it doesn’t end up a smokescreen in the fight to help new mothers.

Fingers crossed.