HARRISBURG – Bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Reps. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) and Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh), that would offer state assistance to Pennsylvania mothers struggling with postpartum depression and their babies, was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. House Bill 200
now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Under the proposal, mothers at high risk for postpartum depression and their infants who are referred by a physician, health care provider or parent would be automatically eligible for assessment and tracking by Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention programs under the Early Intervention Services System Act. These programs exist in all of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties.
“Not only does this bill help ensure that at-risk infants grow up to be happy and healthy adults, but it also creates a critical new connection to mental health services for Pennsylvania moms suffering from depression,” said Toohil. “In the process, it helps fight the isolation and stigma these moms encounter during what is supposed to be ‘the happiest time of their lives.’”
According to the American Psychological Association, about 15 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. This means that approximately 21,000 babies and their mothers in Pennsylvania are affected by the condition annually.
“This legislation offers a critical helping hand to Pennsylvania families,” Schlossberg said. “It’s designed to catch infant developmental delays at the earliest possible stage and avoid health and behavioral problems that might otherwise follow them for a lifetime.”
A companion bill in the Senate currently sits with the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office