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Making Visible the Invisible: Domestic Violence, Postpartum Depression
Erica Barnett, 29 Oct 07
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Amid all the pink ribbons and stuffed animals and Barbies and Campbell's soup cans that herald the onset of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we can understand if you missed the fact that it's also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Never heard of Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Neither had we. Perhaps domestic violence owes its low profile, as Lucinda Marshall suggests on Alternet, to the fact that most of us would "much rather be aware of breasts, even sick ones, than talk about black eyes and things that aren't supposed to go on behind closed doors." Whatever the reason, it's time to raise the profile of this important event. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which coordinates Domestic Violence Awareness Month (its ribbon color is purple, in case you're keeping track) an estimated 1.3 million American women are assaulted by a physical partner every year; those between 20 and 24 are most at risk. International statistics on domestic violence are harder to come by, in large part because of spotty reporting, but Amnesty International reports that male-on-female partner violence is endemic worldwide, from Egypt to Albania to Sierra Leone. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has some ideas for raising awareness of domestic violence during the month of October here.

* * *

Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives passed the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, funding research into the causes of postpartum depression in women and a public awareness campaign about the common malady. Melanie Blocker-Stokes was a successful pharmaceutical sales manager who developed a crippling mood disorder called postpartum psychosis and was admitted to hospitals around Chicago three times, each time for seven to 10 days. On June 11, 2001, with her daughter just shy of four months old, Blocker-Stokes jumped to her death from a 12th-story window ledge.

According to the National Institutes of Health, some degree of "baby blues" is common just after childbirth. Between 50 and 80 percent of women report difficulty sleeping and eating and symptoms of mild depression. Postpartum depression, in contrast, is a longer-term illness that affects between 10 and 15 percent of women. Its symptoms include feeling restless, anxious, sad, guilty, lethargic, or worthless. Some new mothers with postpartum depression worry about hurting themselves or their baby. In very rare cases, a new mother can develop postpartum psychosis, whose symptoms include refusing to eat, manic energy, sleep disturbance, paranoia and irrational thoughts. Postpartum psychosis can lead to attempts to harm others or commit suicide, and is usually treated with hospitalization.

Although postpartum depression can be treated with medication, researchers still aren't sure what causes it or how to target it directly. That's why research into the illness is desperately needed. The Blocker-Stokes Act will address some of that need by funding basic research into the causes of postpartum depression; studying the frequency and natural history of the condition, including the differences among racial and ethnic groups; developing better diagnostic tools; researching new treatments; and launching information and education programs for health care workers and the public.

S. 450, the Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, was identical to the Senate bill that was introduced in the 107th Congress. S. 450 would have amended the Public Health Service Act to provide for research on and services for individuals with postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Specifically, S. 450 would have required the Secretary of HHS, acting through the Director of NIH, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and heads of other Federal agencies that administer Federal health programs, to organize a series of national meetings for the purposes of developing a research plan for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. After the development of the research plan, the Secretary of HHS, acting through the Director of NIH, would have been required to expand and intensify research and related activities of the Institutes regarding postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis in a manner appropriate to carry out the established research plan.

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Comments

regarding domestic violence...most statistics are often wrong when discussing which gender does the perpetration:

I would encourage worldchangers to read the following and check out www.mediaradar.org

a quote from the site: "Psychologist Renee McDonald interviewed married and co-habiting couples, and reported that women were twice as likely to engage in severe partner violence"


Posted by: emergence on 29 Oct 07

regarding domestic violence...most statistics are often wrong when discussing which gender does the perpetration:

I would encourage worldchangers to read the following and check out www.mediaradar.org

a quote from the site: "Psychologist Renee McDonald interviewed married and co-habiting couples, and reported that women were twice as likely to engage in severe partner violence"


Posted by: emergence on 29 Oct 07

regarding domestic violence...most statistics are often wrong when discussing which gender does the perpetration:

I would encourage worldchangers to read the following and check out www.mediaradar.org

a quote from the site: "Psychologist Renee McDonald interviewed married and co-habiting couples, and reported that women were twice as likely to engage in severe partner violence"


Posted by: emergence on 29 Oct 07

my apologies for the numerous postings


Posted by: emergence on 29 Oct 07

There are many contributing factors to post partum depression. I came through four years of it recently and have found that lack of minerals in the diet prior to, during and post pregnancy is very common. We are not getting enough minerals in our diet - our soil is depleted and we eat way too much processed foods. Our salt is bleached so that the minerals one would naturally get from eating unprocessed sea salt, for example, have been eliminated from our diets. Pregnancy further depletes us and many of us then experience some degree of post partum depression.

There are many other contributing factors but this is an easy place for an individual to start. It's like the farmers who give their animals a salt lick when they start to act a little strange - and that salt lick isn't white - it's grey.


Posted by: lara on 1 Nov 07



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