December 6, 2016 - Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, authored by Congressmember Katherine Clark, was included in the 21st Century Cures Act which was passed by the House and the Senate.
This medical research funding bill enhances mental health and substance use treatment for children and families, and the support for screening and treatment of maternal depression. The maternal mental health provisions provide states with federal grants to develop and maintain programs for better education, screening and treatment of postpartum depression. The grants would service women who are pregnant and/or given birth in the past 12 months. These grants would be available to no less than three states, and gives five million dollars annually (if funded).
This law would authorize the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to make grants to states to establish, expand, or maintain culturally competent programs for screening and treatment of women who are pregnant, or who have given birth within the preceding 12 months, for maternal depression. The HRSA shall make such grants to at least three states and give priority to states proposing to expand or enhance screening for maternal depression in primary care settings.
Activities eligible for funding: (1) shall include providing appropriate training and relevant resources, including information on maternal depression screening, treatment, follow-up support, and linkages to community-based resources, to health care providers; and (2) may include enabling health care providers to provide or receive real-time psychiatric consultation to aid in the treatment of pregnant and postpartum women, conducting a public awareness campaign, funding start-up costs, and establishing linkages with and among community-based resources.
Update on Bill Status and Legislative Efforts 10/2016:
We saw several new cosponsors join onboard both the House of Representatives and Senate postpartum depression bills over the summer. The House of Representatives postpartum depression bill, HR 3235, currently has 88 co-sponsors and the Senate postpartum depression bill, S 2311, has 14 cosponsors.
The House saw the mental health comprehensive bill pass in July. This bill did not include maternal mental health provisions, although they did include infant mental health.
There is significant push for the Senate mental health comprehensive bill to pass this Fall. The Senate mental health comprehensive bill includes the language from the S 2311, and is due to be voted on post election.
There is no opposition to the postpartum depression bill in either chamber. It appears there still is a great possibility that the postpartum depression legislation will pass.
The bill will go to the conference committee if the Senate mental health bill is passed and the NCMMH will continue to lobby during that process to ensure the MMH language stays in the final text.