Hey there World of Psychology readers.
You’re probably saying to yourselves “This is NOT Dr. John Grohol. I detect a Southern accent.” Very intuitive.
My name is Katherine Stone and I write Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the U.S. on perinatal mood disorders, including postpartum depression, antepartum depression, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis. For some reason, Dr. Grohol has seen fit to give me the keys to his blog. Before he changes his mind, I thought I’d sneak in and talk to you while I had the chance …
The timing of my post is very important. Later this week, the United States Senate may be voting on the Advancing America’s Priorities Act. This package of bills, introduced by Senator Harry Reid this morning, includes the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, which would fund increased research into the causes of perinatal mood disorders, better training of healthcare providers and more public awareness. I can’t tell you how important this is.
Of the 800,000 women in the U.S. who get postpartum depression each year, only 10% of them are ever diagnosed and treated. As I wrote on my blog today, we know from research that untreated perinatal mood disorders are a serious public health threat –they can lead to chronic depression in the mother, behavioral problems in the child and stress-related health problems in both. This is an enormous financial cost to our health system and even bigger social cost to our families and communities now and into the future. It will continue on perpetually until we break the cycle and take the lead to proactively educate pregnant mothers, conduct more research and train our doctors. I know this because I am the child of a mother who went through PPD. Her mother, my grandmother, had it as well, and I suffered postpartum OCD myself. I also know because I hear from hundreds of women across the country who read Postpartum Progress and send me emails about their terrible experiences and the lack of knowledge shown by many in the healthcare community.
If you’d like to help, please visit the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance’s Advocacy in Action Alert and send a letter right now to tell the U.S. Senate to pass this bill. Along with DBSA, it is supported by Postpartum Support International, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses, the March of Dimes, Mental Health America, the Suicide Prevent Action Network, the Children’s Defense Fund, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and many others.
Not every mother gets PPD. But the ones who do need and deserve effective help. And just so you know, the bill does not advocate any specific treatment for perinatal mood disorders and neither do I. What I care about is mothers recovering as quickly as possible so they can have healthy relationships with their children, regardless of whether it’s via therapy, meds, a combination of both or some other method.
I hope you will support those of us who go through this and speak up. Thanks for listening.