Congressman Mike Bilirakis
Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee
2269 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Bilirakis
I am writing you today to urge your support of H.R 846 – the Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act and respectfully request that hearings on this bill be scheduled immediately. Sixty to 80% of new mothers experience symptoms of postpartum blues while the more serious condition postpartum depression affects up to 20% of women who have recently given birth. The most extreme form, postpartum psychosis, is exhibited in about 1% of all new mothers. At what should be the happiest time in a woman’s life these mood disorders result in feelings of despondency, tearfulness, intense feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and fatigue. In the worst case scenario, if left untreated or not treated properly, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis has resulted in suicide and infanticide.
Postpartum depression can affect any new mother. Although there are factors that place some women at higher risk than others to suffer from this illness, it hits all types of women regardless of age, intelligence, stability, education or income level.
H.R. 846 helps to address these problems by providing for the expansion and intensification of research into postpartum depression and psychosis at the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health. It also seeks to provide grants for the delivery of essential services and support to women suffering from postpartum depression/psychosis and their families.
Many of us have been touched by postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. We have either experienced this ourselves, know someone who has, or have lost a loved one to it as Melanie Stokes’ mother did.
By writing to you today I am asking for your support of H.R 846 – the Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act and request that hearings for this very important bill be scheduled immediately.