New law aims to raise awareness of postpartum depressions

CHENANGO COUNTY – New legislation that was signed into New York State law last will start to offer much needed support for new mothers facing maternal depression during and after pregnancy.

The new law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last Monday, will provide educational services across the state and promote screening and treatment for maternal depression disorder, better known as postpartum depression.

While the issue of postpartum depression has been at the forefront for perinatal organizations including Mothers and Babies of South Central New York, legislation that broadens the outreach of educational services for women suffering from the disorder is a big step forward, explained Mothers and Babies Executive Director Sharon Chesna.

“Advocates are saying we need to do a better job of identifying postpartum depression and treating it within our community,” Chesna said. “We have been paying attention to this legislation for a long time.”

Although the nature and severity of maternal depression is commonly known in the field of health, there’s currently no system-wide screening and referral procedure in New York State. Additionally, maternal depression is often undetected and untreated by maternal health care providers due to a lack of training in identifying the condition, as well as the lack of support and the availability of treatment options.

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