The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation on Tuesday for women to be screened for depression before and after giving birth. “Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and appropriate follow-up,” reads the recommendation. “There’s a lot of evidence that shows that pregnancy and the first year has more impact on a child’s future than any other time,” said Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress, a blog and non-profit, who welcomes the recommendation. “If you don’t ensure mom has good emotional health in pregnancy and first postpartum year, you’re already hampering the health of these children and their cognitive development.” Nevertheless, she also pointed out that the U.S. still suffers from a lack of mental health care professionals and that the recommendation did not include money for screenings. Randy Gibbs, who became an activist for mental health for young mothers after his sister who suffered from postpartum psychosis killed her son and herself, also believes in the value of these recommended screenings. “Just the idea of having a screening test program in place, it kind of validates that it is an actual illness,” he told The Guardian. “Right now it’s like a secret that no one wants to talk about. It’s in the shadows. It’s not like cancer or leukemia or other things you can physically see.”
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