Designating May as Perinatal Depression Awareness Month: California


Designating May as Perinatal Depression Awareness Month

ACR 105 – Designating May as “Perinatal Depression Awareness Month” in California Passes Assembly and Senate.

Junior Leagues’ Support Across the State Seen As Critical on Key Women’s Health Issue.

Sacramento, Calif. – April 22, 2010 – The Junior Leagues of California’s State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), working with Assembly Member Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), sponsored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 105 (ACR 105) to designate each May as “Perinatal Depression Awareness Month” in California. The bill received tremendous bi-partisan support and has passed both the Assembly and Senate.

“This legislation addresses a significant women’s health and public awareness problem,” said Assembly Member Nava. “It comes after 18 months of advocacy work by SPAC and individual Junior Leagues in California. By naming the month of May ‘Perinatal Depression Awareness’ Month, I hope to facilitate public discussion, increased awareness and access for women and their families to important healthcare services. The Junior Leagues’ support was critical, and I thank the leaders of SPAC for their time and energy in bringing this often misunderstood issue to a wider audience.”

National studies estimate 1 in 5 women suffer from postpartum depression and related disorders — 80% of whom go undiagnosed and untreated because they are uninsured, underinsured, or lack access to comprehensive health care. There may be as many as 800,000 new cases in the United States each year.

“Because many women are not adequately informed, screened or treated for Perinatal Depression, they and their infants and families suffer needlessly through this devastating medical condition,” said SPAC Co-Chair and Junior League of Los Angeles Member Julie Elginer. “Early diagnosis and treatment is critical, but that cannot happen unless women, their families and friends and clinicians and other professionals know the signs and symptoms of Perinatal Depression. Many states, including New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Iowa, have implemented robust educational campaigns and treatment programs. This is an important first step for California to increase awareness and reduce stigmas associated with this condition.”

As passed, ACR 105 will also request that the State Department of Health Care Services, the State Department of Mental Health and other private stakeholders work together to explore ways to improve women’s access to mental health care, to facilitate increasing awareness of and education about Perinatal Depression and to encourage the use of available prenatal screening tools.

To lead off Perinatal Depression Awareness Month, SPAC is introducing a Perinatal Depression awareness campaign entitled “Speak Up When You’re Down.” Additionally, SPAC leadership and stakeholders from across California will be participating in a key opinion leader roundtable hosted by the California Research Bureau on May 3rd. On the same day, SPAC will be participating in a press conference in Sacramento with Assembly Member Nava at 11:00 a.m. Representatives from a broad-based coalition that has supported ACR 105, including the American Congress of Obstetricians Gynecologists, Postpartum Support International, the offices of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Taskforce will also be in attendance.

On May 4th, SPAC will testify on Perinatal Depression at the California Women’s Legislative Caucus informational hearing that will be held in conjunction with the Assembly Health and Senate Health Committees.

Assembly Member Nava applauded SPAC’s tireless advocacy efforts saying “It has been an honor to work with the Junior Leagues of California. The League’s thoughtful and energetic advocacy on many important issues has been invaluable for both their communities and all the people of California.”

About SPAC:

SPAC is the State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of California, a non-partisan, volunteer organization representing 11,000 members throughout the state. Collectively, the Junior Leagues of California contribute over $1.2 M and tens of thousands of volunteer hours into their local communities each year. SPAC supports legislation in four focus areas: education, health, family support and domestic violence prevention. SPAC works with nearly one hundred community programs that assist women, children and families throughout the state. SPAC represents the Junior Leagues of Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey County, Napa-Sonoma, Oakland East Bay, Orange County, Palo Alto/Mid-Peninsula, Pasadena, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Barbara.

About the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI):

Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.

Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 160,000 women in 293 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world. For more information please visit http://www.ajli.org.

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