WASHINGTON: Postpartum Support International (PSI) is pressing to get the word out on pending legislation concerning postpartum depression after a Brooke Shields appearance on Capitol Hill created momentum.
Two bills are currently making their way through both the Senate and House of Representatives, and their passage would require new mothers be given information on postpartum depression prior to being discharged from the hospital. The bills would also grant money for research and education.
Susan Dowd Stone, president of PSI, said the group will continue outreach efforts to communicate the need for the legislation. Stone says the group is currently searching for a PR agency to represent the nonprofit on a pro bono basis, which she hopes will extend communications efforts once the organization completes its agency search.
The Capitol Hill press conference was timed to coincide with Mother's Day weekend, and Shields was joined by former New Jersey first lady Mary Jo Codey, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) to announce the introduction of legislation in the senate.
PSI followed the Friday event with another in Chicago the following day, giving Rep. Rush a community service award for his work on the issue and asking the community get involved.
"We want to continue the momentum created by the event," Stone said. "Brooke Shields was so compelling and gave such extensive coverage to the issue. We're trying to get the word out now that people should contact their senators and ask where they stand on this and to sign on to the bill."
PSI will send e-mail blasts to members and member organizations imploring them to encourage both parties to support the bills. Stone said she hopes to make use of member organization's mailing lists as well, hoping they will pass the e-mail on to their member lists.
PSI is a worldwide network for both consumers and healthcare providers that has been in existence since 1987.