Postpartum Depression Pilot Program

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

The Postpartum Depression Pilot Program, and funding for it, was first included in the FY 2014 budget in order to address postpartum depression through community-based services.

The Special Legislative Commission on Postpartum Depression was established in 2010, and is tasked with providing information on the most current postpartum depression research and reviewing what the Commonwealth currently does with regard to screening and treatment. In addition, the Commission helps develop educational materials for mothers and doctors, assesses screening tools and provides recommendations on how to obtain federal funding for postpartum depression programs. This pilot program was one of the recommendations of the Commission. The pilot provides a part time Community Health Worker (CHW) at four community health centers in Holyoke, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, and Worcester. Since these workers are stationed in Community Health Clinics, the majority of their clients are low income mothers. The CHW works with doctors to assist women who receive a positive screen for postpartum depression in receiving mental health and other support services.

Postpartum depression affects between 13 and 19 percent of new mothers in Massachusetts. It also indirectly affects their children, as parents battling mental health issues may not be able to devote the necessary resources and care to their children. The condition is highly treatable once identified, and for the sake of the mother and the family, early detection is very important. According to an Annie E. Casey study, recent data show that in Massachusetts, there are close to 27,000 young children in households whose mother reported having poor or fair mental or emotional health. Since poor maternal mental health puts children at risk, these data suggest that close to one out of every 27 children is at risk, simply due to their mother's emotional well-being. If women are able to get the resources they need, the negative consequences of postpartum depression will decrease.

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