Assemblymember Mary Hayashi Joins Commemoration of First Perinatal and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day

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Event brings attention to perinatal and postpartum depression.

At the California State Capitol, Assemblymember Mary Hayashi talks about Perinatal and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day

At the California State Capitol, Assemblymember Mary Hayashi talks about Perinatal and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day

“Maternal depression is common and treatable, but still heavily stigmatized. We are letting families know that help is available, and that getting help is okay.”
--Assemblymember Hayashi.

Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) joined with leading women’s health advocates to raise awareness about mental health at the first Perinatal and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day at the State Capitol. The event, in recognition of May as Perinatal Mental Health and Maternal Depression Awareness Month, featured a morning press conference and an expert panel discussion.

“Maternal depression is common and treatable, but still heavily stigmatized. We are letting families know that help is available, and that getting help is okay,” stated Assemblymember Hayashi. “No new mother should have to feel isolated or ashamed by depression. Today’s event and all of the dedicated advocates involved are working to make that a reality.”

Perinatal Mental Health and Maternal Depression Awareness Month was established by ACR 105 in 2010. The resolution called for the state and advocacy groups to explore ways to improve women's access to mental healthcare, to facilitate increased awareness about perinatal depression, and to improve the availability of effective screening, treatment and community support services. In 2011, the Legislature passed ACR 53 to further stress the need for prevention and raise awareness about risk factors and triggers for perinatal depression.

A new California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative began in September 2011 to address the directives of the resolutions, and served as the host of today’s events. Other speakers included Raul Martinez, surviving husband of Kelly Abraham Martinez, who died by suicide from postpartum depression and inspired ACR 53. Dr. Judy Mikacich spoke on behalf of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

It’s estimated that between 10 to 20 percent of women experience depression either during pregnancy or in the first 12 months postpartum. Most will go undiagnosed or untreated due to stigma and lack of information, as well as the lack of standardized screening by providers. Untreated depression can have detrimental effects on both the mother and child, including increased risk for maternal suicide and impaired childhood development.

Assemblymember Hayashi is the Chair of the Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee and serves the 18th Assembly District, which includes San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, most of Castro Valley and Pleasanton, and a portion of Oakland, as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo and Sunol.

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Ross Warren
Office of Assemblymember Mary Hayashi
(916) 319-2018
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