Today, Wednesday October 24th, BlogHer, Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Progress are joining together to host Blog Day for the MOTHERS Act. They’ve asked bloggers from around the country to write about the MOTHERS Act for postpartum depression today and to encourage their readers to pick up the phone that day, call their Senators and urge them to endorse this critical legislation. This effort is part of the overall BlogHers Act 2007-2008 initiative to improve maternal health.
What is the MOTHERS Act?
The Moms Opportunity to Access Help, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, or MOTHERS Act (S. 1375), will ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms and provided with essential services. In addition, it will increase research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression. The bill is sponsored by Senators Menendez and Durbin.
Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers — as much as 800,000 American women each year. Yet only 15 percent of these women will receive any assessment or treatment. Let me repeat. With all we know and as smart as we are, only 15% of 800,000 women will get diagnosed and treated. That is so wrong on so many levels. Women are not being diagnosed because they’re not being educated and they’re not being screened. Untreated, the consequences of maternal mood disorders range from chronic, disabling depression to death. The impact of untreated maternal depression on infants/children ranges from behavioral and learning disabilities to depression and, in the worst case scenarios, death from infanticide.
Specifically, the MOTHERS Act will help new moms by:
* Providing important education and screening on postpartum depression (PPD) that can lead to early identification and treatment. The legislation includes two grants to help healthcare providers educate, identify and treat PPD.
* Expanding important research to improve and discover new treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers. Since the exact cause of PPD isn’t known, research continues to be the key to unlocking the mystery of this condition.
The bill is currently with the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee of the Senate. If the majority of the HELP Committee members endorse the MOTHERS Act, the bill will move forward for consideration by the Senate. Without Senate sponsors, the bill could languish in committee and await reintroduction at a future date. The moms of America can’t wait for that.
Most Senators rarely hear from mothers (and others!), and phone calls from you and your readers will cause them to sit up and take notice on a specific issue. Writing or sending emails has much less impact.
With your support, Blog Day for the MOTHERS Act can truly have a measurable impact.
Here is what you do.
Below you will find a complete listing of U.S. Senators and their Washington DC telephone numbers. This is a bipartisan issue that BOTH Democratic and Republican state senators need to support.
Just PICK UP THE PHONE and CALL!! If the line is busy, call back or leave your message.??And if your state senator has already signed on to sponsor The MOTHERS Act, call them anyway to express your thanks and support of their stance, to let them know how much this matters and to keep their attention focused on the issue!?
A suggested script is below to help the legislative responders in each office identify the referenced bill and the reason for your call. But feel free to add your own powerful and personal ideas/statements about why you feel the passage of this legislation is so important!?
REMEMBER – Up to 800,000 women in the U.S. will develop a diagnosable perinatal mood disorder this year! (This does not include women whose babies are stillborn, who miscarry or suffer pregnancy termination). Yet only 15% of these women will receive any treatment. We need to do a better job screening, educating and treating our nation’s mothers!
The MOTHERS Act addresses these concerns and offers the common sense and needed remedies of screening, education, provision of services and research. Thanks to your efforts it will not go unnoticed! Let’s move this out of the HELP committee and into the full senate!!?
Suggested Script??”Hello this is (your name) one of Senator (Senator’s name) constituents from (your town). I am calling to ask the Senator to co-sponsor The MOTHERS Act bill number S. 1375, sponsored by Senator Menendez, which will provide funding for research, education, screening and treatment of postpartum depression.”
Contact Information by State:
Sessions (R-AL) 202-224-4124?Shelby (R-AL) 202-224-5744?
Alaska?Murkowski (R-AK) 202-224-6665?Stevens (R-AK) 202-224-3004?
Arizona?Kyl (R-AZ) 202-224-4521?McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235?
Arkansas?Lincoln (D-AR) 202-224-4843?Pryor (D-AR) 202-224-2353?
California?Boxer (D-CA) 202-224-3553 – Thank you to Senator Barbara Boxer for signing on as a sponsor!!!?Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841?
Colorado?Allard (R-CO) 202-224-5941?Salazar (D-CO) 202-224-5852??
Connecticut?Dodd (D-CT) 202-224-2823 – Thank you to Senator Christopher Dodd for signing on as a sponsor!! THE ONLY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WHO HAS SIGNED ON.?Lieberman (ID-CT) 202-224-4041??
Delaware?Biden (D-DE) 202-224-5042?Carper (D-DE) 202-224-2441??
Florida?Martinez (R-FL) 202-224-3041?Nelson (D-FL) 202-224-5274??
Georgia?Chambliss (R-GA) 202-224-3521?Isakson (R-GA) 202-224-3643??
Hawaii?Akaka (D-HI) 202-224-6361?Inouye (D-HI) 202-224-3934??
Idaho?Craig (R-ID) 202-224-2752?Crapo (R-ID) 202-224-6142??
Illinois?Durbin (D-IL) 202-224-2152 – Thanks to Senator Durbin for being the lead co sponsor of this bill!?Obama (D-IL) 202-224-2854??
Indiana?Bayh (D-IN) 202-224-5623?Lugar (R-IN) 202-224-4814??
Iowa?Grassley (R-IA) 202-224-3744?Harkin (D-IA) 202-224-3254??
Kansas?Brownback (R-KS) 202-224-6521?Roberts (R-KS) 202-224-4774??
Kentucky?Bunning (R-KY) 202-224-4343?McConnell (R-KY) 202-224-2541??
Louisiana?Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824?Vitter (R-LA) 202-224-4623??
Maine?Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523?Snowe (R-ME) 202-224-5344 Thank you to Senator Olympia Snowe for signing on as a sponsor!??
Maryland?Cardin (D-MD) 202-224-4524?Mikulski (D-MD) 202-224-4654??
Massachusetts?Kennedy (D-MA) 202-224-4543?Kerry (D-MA) 202-224-2742??
Michigan?Levin (D-MI) 202-224-6221?Stabenow (D-MI) 202-224-4822??
Minnesota?Coleman (R-MN) 202-224-5641?Klobuchar (D-MN) 202-224-3244??
Mississippi?Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054?Lott (R-MS) 202-224-6253??
Missouri?Bond (R-MO) 202-224-5721?McCaskill (D-MO) 202-224-6154??
Montana?Baucus (D-MT) 202-224-2651?Tester (D-MT) 202-224-2644??
Nebraska?Hagel (R-NE) 202-224-4224?Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551??
Nevada?Ensign (R-NV) 202-224-6244?Reid (D-NV) 202-224-3542??
New Hampshire?Gregg (R-NH) 202-224-3324?Sununu (R-NH) 202-224-2841??
New Jersey?Lautenberg (D-NJ) 202-224-3224 – Thank you to Senator Lautenberg for signing on as a sponsor!?Menendez (D-NJ) 202-224-4744 – Thank you to Senator Robert Menendez for introducing this bill!!??
New Mexico?Bingaman (D-NM) 202-224-5521?Domenici (R-NM) 202-224-6621??
New York?Clinton (D-NY) 202-224-4451?Schumer (D-NY) 202-224-6542??
North Carolina?Burr (R-NC) 202-224-3154?Dole (R-NC) 202-224-6342??
North Dakota?Conrad (D-ND) 202-224-2043?Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551??
Ohio?Brown (D-OH) 202-224-2315 – Thank you to Senator Sherrod Brown for signing on as a sponsor!?Voinovich (R-OH) 202-224-3353??
Oklahoma?Coburn (R-OK) 202-224-5754?Inhofe (R-OK) 202-224-4721??
Oregon?Smith (R-OR) 202-224-3753?Wyden (D-OR) 202-224-5244??
Pennsylvania?Casey (D-PA) 202-224-6324?Specter (R-PA) 202-224-4254??
Rhode Island?Reed (D-RI) 202-224-4642?Whitehouse (D-RI) 202-224-2921 Thank you to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for signing on as a sponsor!!??
South Carolina?DeMint (R-SC) 202-224-6121?Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972??
South Dakota?Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842?Thune (R-SD) 202-224-2321??
Tennessee?Alexander (R-TN) 202-224-4944?Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344??
Texas?Cornyn (R-TX) 202-224-2934?Hutchison (R-TX) 202-224-5922??
Utah?Bennett (R-UT) 202-224-5444?Hatch (R-UT) 202-224-5251??
Vermont?Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-4242?Sanders (I-VT) 202-224-5141 – Thank you to Senator Bernard Sanders for signing on as a sponsor!??
Virginia?Warner (R-VA) 202-224-2023?Webb (D-VA) 202-224-4024??
Washington?Cantwell (D-WA) 202-224-3441?Murray (D-WA) 202-224-2621??
West Virginia?Byrd (D-WV) 202-224-3954?Rockefeller (D-WV) 202-224-6472??
Wisconsin?Feingold (D-WI) 202-224-5323?Kohl (D-WI) 202-224-5653??
Wyoming?Barrasso (R-WY) 202-224-6441?Enzi (R-WY) 202-224-3424