Jasey, Johnson, Verrelli Release Statement on Measure to Identify, Takes Steps to Secure Federal Maternal Mental Health Funding

Would Require DOH, DHS to Report Findings by 2020

Recognizing the significance of mental health before, during and after pregnancy, 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, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) was approved 80-0-0 Monday by the full Assembly.

The legislators released the following joint statement regarding the measure (A-4937):

“With the CDC reporting that approximately 1 in 9 women in the U.S. experiences postpartum depression symptoms, it is imperative that funding sources connecting them to mental health services are identified.

“Locating dollars 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 needed 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 January 1, 2020, 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 around the state.”