The Public Weighs In On New Screening Guidelines

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Opinion pages and comment sections allow a variety of writers to voice their thoughts on latest news. Recently, The United States Preventive Services Task Force, a government agency who works to improve the health of all Americans,  has taken initiative on suggesting new mothers take a screening test to determine whether they suffer with postpartum depression and here’s what some women have to say about this.

There are many opinions circulating whether this screening is more beneficial than harmful. Many people include how women can be more self reliant yet, deny their mental illness. Many people complain how father figures are not involved in these articles when they should be. They fight how father figures are as equally important as mothers so, what is the government going to do to help depressed fathers? It makes me wonder how these fathers are coping with seeing their wife is suffering this severely.

The public eye views this action as mothers crying for help. Lisa McElaney, a mental health counselor from The New York Times, speaks out her opinion by explaining that screening alone will not successfully execute these distressed mothers since they have already struggle enough “with mood disorders as well as infants and children affected by their mothers’ mental state”. She includes that mothers will continue to be miserable unless we take the time and commit on improving their well beings. Her perspective advises that screening and treatment is hardly helping morose mothers but, promising them patience and protection is the only way to fix this issue. Leslie, a recovered postpartum depression mother, spoke out and admitted how her depression state never fully healed until she received the support from fellow suffering mothers. Having a support system behind you can be more resourceful than you think and especially when you know you aren’t alone is when you start accept, thrive and grow. Valerie, a single mother of twins, admits she struggles with severe postpartum depression and agrees she needs is some serious support.

Many of the comments from The New York Times’ comment page is whether or not mother’s children will be taken away from them if they speak their true feelings. Postpartum depression withholds the ability to be a stable mother so, many moms fear “if I speak the truth and say, yes, I am feeling depressed and suicidal, will my baby be taken away from me?” (Jodi Frank, NYTimes). If the government takes away their children, how would this action help the mother’s depression? Wouldn’t it add to their increasing levels of anxiety? Valerie, the mother of twins, adds “How are women like me expected to reach out when there is legitimate fear of losing her children?”. These are some questions the government really has to face when contemplating whether these screenings are confidential and useful.

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Many comments were articulating the issue of money insurance and how the economy might affect the decision to get help or not. Even Leslie agreed and questioned whether this screening would be “easily accessible and affordable”. Leslie took part in “hour-plus drives” to her “psychiatric nurse who specialized in caring for PPD” which mildly helped her because of its inconvenience and unpaid, voluntary leaves.

This postpartum depression is a very controversial topic. More people are negatively reacting to this screening test because they believe more should be done. Before reading these comments, I thought the screening test was favorable for all its providing these mothers but after these judgements, it makes me realize how much more needs to be done and how much can improve from this small step to help these anguished mothers. 

Header image taken from Bump Boxes

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