On March 2nd, we were thrilled to partner with our friends at the #StrongMomStrongBaby campaign for a panel discussion on postpartum depression moderated by Senator Camera Bartolotta. The event brought together experts from the worlds of pediatrics, mental health, Early Intervention, nursing, and more to talk about the crushing impact perinatal depression can have on both babies and moms – and why Senator Bartolotta’s SB 200 is the right way to help address the problem in Pennsylvania.
Senator Bartolotta spoke about the need for legislation that helps provide a pathway to seek help for PA’s roughly 21,000 new mothers experiencing depression, all while ensuring their babies are developing normally. Her bill, known as SB 200 and supported by the #StrongMomStrongBaby coalition, would do exactly that – by automatically qualifying infants whose mothers screen at risk for depression for Early Intervention tracking and screening.
The Early Intervention system allows trained therapists to screen, interact, and play with babies in their own homes while ensuring that their cognitive and physical development are on track. They also serve as an essential – and nonthreatening – resource for new moms suffering from postpartum depression who need and want help.
The panel at the March 2nd event featured Stephanie Evans, a Mental Health Specialist from the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, which already serves as a model for delivering Early Intervention services in Allegheny County. Alongside her were Dr. Abigail Schlesinger, the Clinical Director of Community-Based Services for the Behavioral Science Division of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Dr. Sarah Homitsky, the Medical Director for Allegheny Health Network’s Women’s Behavioral Health program. All three shared moving stories of mothers who were suffering – and families that thrived when they got the help they needed.
The event was hosted by United Way of Washington County, whose President Barbara Murphy kicked things off by highlighting Senator Bartolotta’s tireless work and driving home the critical need for SB 200.
Check out the Facebook LIVE video of the Q&A session – plus other photos of the event – by clicking here. An enormous thank you to United Way of Washington County, Washington Health System, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, and the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers for making the event possible.