SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – New mothers would benefit from greater mental health awareness under a bill backed by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, requiring hospitals to create programs to spread awareness about post-partum depression and other mental health needs for mothers before, during and after pregnancy.
“Being a mother comes with numerous medical dangers, both physical and mental,” Hernandez said. “We cannot forget the psychological wellbeing of women before and after they give birth. For the sake of the wellness of mothers and their children, it is essential that we ensure pregnant women are prepared for the complications they might face and their health care professionals are trained to provide aid.”
Hernandez is supporting the Maternal Mental Health Conditions Education, Early Diagnosis, and Treatment Act. The bill requires acute care hospitals and hospitals with a perinatal unit to develop a program to educate new mothers about potential problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and numerous other mental issues. This program must also include training for appropriate health care staff to effectively treat these issues.
“A new mother’s life changes dramatically before, during and after pregnancy, and it’s important that they know that they are not alone,” Hernandez said. “It is essential to prepare mothers to handle all side-effects of pregnancy that come up, and that we have hospital staff who can help if necessary.”