Postpartum Depression Screening, Mandatory Or Not?

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The main controversy I will be discussing today is whether or not The United States Preventive Task Force should declare a perinatal depression screening mandatory for all upcoming mothers. According to the New York Times, postpartum depression affects one in five women worldwide. From this certain statistic, imagine counting off mothers throughout the world and knowing for a fact that one of them can be or are suffering from perinatal or postpartum depression.

To begin, I would like to reiterate what exactly postpartum depression is all about. As stated from Mental Health America, postpartum depression is a severe mental disorder resulting from recent childbirth affecting the mothers’ well being with common signs of depression. Although depression affects many people worldwide, it is cruel to know that even mothers suffer from this negative connotation to life.

The first side is debating that we should force and push this screening test to be mandatory toward all incoming mothers while the opposing side is stating that the screening test should be the mothers’ choice.

There are many players that take part into this debate. First, i’ll introduce The United States Preventive Task Force. The USPSTF is “an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine” who works to improve America’s health by suggesting “screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications” when needed, as stated from their informative home page website. The USPSTF has been noticing this debate for a few years now but have not made much progress with their proposed bill. The main dispute they are forcing is how depression is among the nation, and worldwide, affecting families by the millions. They highly suggest this screening for perinatal and postpartum depression can prevent longterm effects and detect the illness sooner than later.

While the USPSTF is in favor for the screening to hopefully soon become mandatory, there are the opposing members toward this notion. Similarly to those in favor, there are many opponents who strongly dislike this proposed bill. To begin, I’ll introduce those who are most against this notion which include health care providers, certain clinics, and even mothers. Health care providers are stating how this postpartum depression screening becoming mandatory will hurt their finances just as much as their mental state. I’ve learned that once an individual is considered “depressed” to some sort of extent, their bills on their medical records shoot through the roof. The depression state costs much due to all the annual check ups, medications and treatments that are not even definite effective or not. Clinics also oppose this proposed bill stating how inconvenient it will soon be for the mothers. Mothers always reiterate how embarrassing and troublesome it could be when following up appointments after appointments, making those long hour drivers to a specific clinic, just to speak about their weekly feelings. Lastly, even mothers oppose this debate because they are more in denial about their mental state than another on this topic. This entire controversy is revolved around them and their outlook on life, whether it is bright and growing or if its dangerously down. No one, especially newly mothers, want to know for a fact if they are really depressed out not.

While this topic becomes more prevalent to our world, follow me through the next month or so and learn more about the two opposing sides and which of these sides seem best for the society today.

(Image 1 and 2 from Seleni.org)

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