U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (IL.), Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance, and the American Psychological Association Push for Postpartum Depression Legislation

May 14, 2003
Press Release

Chicago, IL ---- U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (IL.), the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance, and the American Psychological Association, will hold a news conference to push for increased support for H.R. 846, The Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act. It will be held on Monday, May 19 @ 10:00 A.M., Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Feinberg Pavilion, Conference Room C, 251 East Huron Street, Chicago.

The press conference is also being held to increase awareness about the illness affecting thousands of women in Illinois annually and to highlight information and services available to women at the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance. Women who have suffered from the disorder will be present to describe their experiences.

Cong. Rush authored the bill, H.R. 846, which provides for research on and services for individuals with postpartum depression and psychosis. The bill was named for Chicago-native, Mrs. Melanie Blocker, who was a successful pharmaceutical sales manager and wife of Dr. Sam Stokes. After the birth of their first child - a daughter Sommer Skyy - on February 23, 2001, Melanie began to suffer from the mood disorder known as postpartum psychosis. Despite a valiant fight against the disorder, which included being hospitalized a total of three times, Melanie jumped to her death from a 12-story window ledge on June 11, 2001.

Sixty to 80% of women who have recently given birth experience symptoms of Postpartum Blues. Postpartum Depression, which is more serious than Postpartum Blues, afflicts up to 20% of new mothers, with symptoms such as despondency, tearfulness, intense feelings of inadequacy, guilt and fatigue. Postpartum psychosis, which is more extreme, is found in less than 1% of all new mothers. It has symptoms such as auditory hallucinations, hyperactivity and delusions.

Last month, IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a Proclamation declaring May as Postpartum Depression Awareness Month, stating that all "citizens should recognize the serious and debilitating disorder that affects childbearing women and their families."

The PPD IL Alliance includes professionals who specialize in treating pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders and women who have experienced, or who have had family members who have suffered postpartum depression. May sees the launch of their telephone support line at 847-205-4455 and website at www.PPDIL.org . The Alliance is committed to increasing awareness of PPD and providing information and referral to sources of help. With increased awareness, mothers can get help and support. The American Psychological Association (APA) represents 150,000 members and affiliates, and works to advance psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting health and human welfare.

For a copy of H.R. 846, original co-sponsors and/or full text of Congressman Rush's Congressional Remarks, please call 773.224.6500. For information about the press conference and/or directions to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call Kelly Sullivan @ 312/926.2000.