Schlossberg bill helping moms with postpartum depression passed by House

HARRISBURG, June 12 – A bill co-sponsored by state Reps. Tarah  Toohil, D-Luzerne, and Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, that would make resources available for children born to mothers who are at high risk for maternal depression has been approved by members of the House.

Schlossberg said H.B.200 would help to ensure that infants and their mothers affected by postpartum depression have access to services that are currently in place in their community that provide support and referrals necessary for the healthy development of infants.

Maternal depression, also known as postpartum depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect up to 80 percent of new mothers in a mild, short-term form. More intense symptoms which can last up to a year affects about 10-20 percent of new mothers. Yet, only 15 percent of women seek treatment for postpartum depression.

"All too often, a woman is unable or unwilling to seek the services that she needs in order to treat postpartum depression, for both herself and her baby,” Schlossberg said. "By passing this legislation out of the House we are not only making it easier for women to have access to services, we also are making a statement.

Postpartum depression is real, and there is no fault in seeking help for a potentially debilitating disease,” said Schlossberg. “All too often, a woman is unable or unwilling to seek and receive the kind of services that can aid with the proper treatment for postpartum depression. Strong and thriving babies need strong and thriving mothers. And, I’m grateful that Representative Toohil and I have received the bipartisan support to ensure that it’s easier for mothers across the commonwealth to have access to early intervention services.”

The Lehigh County legislator said the bill would mean that mothers at high risk for postpartum depression and their infants would be automatically eligible for assessment and tracking through the program, making postpartum depression a qualifying condition under the existing Pennsylvania Early Intervention program.

Schlossberg, who serves as co-chair and co-founder of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, said this legislation is part of his ongoing mental health initiative. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.