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Assembly Passes Jasey, Johnson & Verrelli Bill Requiring NJ Departments to Work to Secure Federal Maternal Mental Health Funding

Recognizing the significance of mental health before, during and after pregnancy, three Assembly Democrats sponsor a measure that would require the New Jersey Department of Health and Department of Human Services to identify and take steps to secure federal dollars for maternal mental health.

Assembly sponsors Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) issued the following joint statement upon the bill (A-1061/S-890) unanimously passing the full Assembly Thursday:

“With the CDC reporting that approximately 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression, it is imperative that funding sources to connect those mothers to mental health services are identified.

“Locating funding that can be used to establish, improve or maintain programs for screening, assessment and treatment of maternal depression will help get women the help they so desperately need following the birth of a child. Although there have been advances in terms of general public awareness about postpartum depression, there is still much more work needing to be done to help new mothers identify the condition, locate resources and get treatment.

“By requiring these departments to report their findings to the Legislature no later than September 1, 2021, we will strengthen our state’s overall effort to integrate perinatal mood disorder screenings and treatment into obstetrical and pediatric medical practice. This will prove beneficial to women and their newborns throughout the state.”

After having previously passed the Senate, the bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.