MELVILLE, N.Y. – Both pregnant women and women who recently have given birth should be screened for depression.
That’s the recommendation by a U.S Preventive Services Task Force panel – the first for maternal mental illness screening.
New evidence suggests postpartum depression can begin during pregnancy, and left untreated can have detrimental outcomes for mother and child.
Dr. Dina Lieser, co-director of the children’s advocacy group Docs for Tots, says those outcomes can last well beyond childhood.
“It runs the gamut from emotional challenges and challenging behavior to depression and anxiety themselves to poor school behavior,” she stresses. “Their own increased rate of other mental illnesses.”
Lieser says parental mental illness also can impact the long-term physical health of a child and lead to issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently set a goal of universal screening of pregnant and postpartum women.
Many health care providers have been reluctant to perform the screenings. They maintain they don’t have the resources.
New York City has set a goal of screening all pregnant and postpartum women, and Lieser says the rest of the state and the nation can’t afford not to follow suit.
“We need a big advocacy effort around how our state incentivizes and reimburses our providers to do this, and the capacity and technical support that it offers to the primary care workforce to get the job done,” she states.
Lieser says the consequences of not screening women cost the state in school failures, health costs and other challenges.
Experts estimate one in seven postpartum mothers has symptoms of depression.
PHOTO: A panel has issued guidelines for depression screening in pregnant and postpartum women. Photo Credit: Armin Hanisch/Freeimages.com.
Disclaimer: News articles on this site may contain opinions of the author, and if opinion, may not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself or the views of the owners of NewsLI.com, Long Island Media Inc., or Long Island Exchange®. For more information on our editorial policies please view our terms of service.