WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller said Wednesday his bill on treating postpartum depression won committee approval as part of a larger mental health measure.
“With thousands of new mothers across the nation facing postpartum depression, we must keep it at the forefront,” the Nevada Republican said.
“Nearly one in eight women experience this condition.”
With early diagnosis and proper treatment, Heller said, 90 percent of mothers with postpartum depression can be treated successfully.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor of Heller’s bill, also welcomed the committee action.
“More than 400,000 women experience postpartum depression every year, but only 15 percent ever receive treatment,” Gillibrand said.
“By encouraging routine screening and providing new connections to treatment options for pregnant and postpartum women, this bill will help improve the health of new mothers and children.”
Heller’s legislation authorizes funding for the program from fiscal years 2017 through 2021 but leaves those amounts to be decided during the appropriations process.
It was included in a bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the panel’s chairman, said the legislation would address what he described as a mental health crisis by improving coordination between federal agencies that provide grants and services, updating block grants for states, requiring those involved in mental health policy to use up-to-date and evidence-based approaches, and improving access to care for veterans, current service members, homeless, women and children.
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