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Toohil, Schlossberg, Bartolotta Push for Passage of Postpartum Depression Legislation
5/2/2018
HARRISBURG – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) and Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) that would assist new mothers in Pennsylvania who are struggling with postpartum depression (PPD) and their babies was the focus of a Capitol news conference on Wednesday. The legislators were joined by supporters of the proposal, including two mothers impacted by PPD.

Toohil and Schlossberg are the co-prime sponsors of House Bill 200, which would automatically qualify infants whose mothers screen at risk for depression for Early Intervention assessment, tracking and – if necessary – ongoing in-home services. The legislation also has the added, proven benefit of connecting mothers with depression to mental health care.

“By adding postpartum depression to the list of qualifying conditions, infants and their mothers who suffer from this condition will have access to the services that are already in place in our Pennsylvania communities to support healthy child development,” said Toohil.

To view Toohil’s comments, visit here.

“We know, for a fact, that the Early Intervention program can do amazing things for at-risk mothers and at-risk children – helping them rise out of poverty and live full and healthy lives,” Schlossberg added.

Kim Manfredi of Washington County suffered from severe PPD after her fourth child was born in 2009.

“The struggle of postpartum depression is real and it is hard,” Manfredi said. “But there is help, treatment and recovery. It is essential we continue to diminish the stigma, establish best practices and further the understanding. The effects go beyond just the mother. This is a family issue and a community issue.”

To view Manfredi’s comments, visit here.

Another Washington County mom, Jatnely Gonzalez, sought help after suffering with PPD following the birth of her second daughter and that made all the difference.

“I can’t stress enough for mothers to seek treatment and follow through with it, and for our health professionals to screen, treat and follow-up with mothers,” Gonzalez said. “Mothers need to know they’re not alone and that there is hope.”

Dr. Eina Fishman, chief clinical officer at Gateway Health, sees firsthand how PPD impacts the mothers and infants they serve.

“Studies show that 1 in 7 women can experience depression in the year following giving birth and the results can be debilitating and devastating,” Fishman told reporters. “Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months, and can cause emotional and behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, excessive crying, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the children and their parents.”

Bartolotta is the prime sponsor of a companion bill in the Senate.

“The first few years of life are the most critical time for a child’s overall health and development,” said Bartolotta. “Anything that gets in the way of that process can create serious consequences later in life.”

Both bills advanced out of committee last year and are currently under review by the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the bill advances quickly for final consideration in both chambers, and we are confident that this vital resource will be in place for Pennsylvania families soon,” said Toohil.

More information is available by following the #StrongMomStrongBaby campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil

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