22 March 2012

Let's make Capitol Hill take notice that PPMD needs to be a priority.

Once again, I've been inspired by something I read on PostPartum Progress. Today, Katherine posted the following article:
Yesterday, the federal government heralded the Affordable Care Act and how it helps women.  They touted the fact that, “20.4 million women with private health insurance gained expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing in 2011, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu and pneumonia shots, and regular well-baby and well-child visits.” They trumpeted the fact that, “… 8.7 million American women currently purchasing individual insurance will gain coverage for maternity services.”
Better healthcare for women is a great thing, but here’s what I want to know: What about the mothers with postpartum depression? What about postpartum depression screening?
Section 2952 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,enacted two years ago, called for more research into PPD screening,  increased awareness for postpartum depression and better services for women who have it.  Where are those things? When might they be coming? Why has no money been appropriated?
I read the brief that was released this week, entitled The Affordable Care Act and Women. It lauds the legislation’s sections 1001, 1401, 1421, 2001, 2401, 2404, 3509, 4104, 4201. I didn’t see anything about section 2952. I care about those other sections, I truly do. But it’s my job to care most about section 2952. I really, really need to see action on 2952. I want to work with the federal government to get 2952 off the ground.
WE NEED 2952.
Are you with me? Do you care about 2952? Are you wondering why more isn’t done?
My initial reaction was "WTF?!?". Then I sighed. Then I thought "Wow, I wish there was something I could do. I'm no good at writing online petitions, just at signing them.". Then, I happened to see a tweet from one of my US Senators, John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn tweeted 
"Funny if it were'nt painfully true RT@Doctorfreefall:@JohnCornyn Obama has approved his "Pipeline to nowhere!". ". 
This was just the latest in a line of tweets taking aim at President Obama. I thought back on the Tweets I usually see from my elected officials. I follow (on Twitter) President Barack Obama, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Senator John Cornyn (Texas' Senators), and Congressman John Carter (Texas, District 31, U.S. House of Representatives). I tend to see a lot of tweets that are partisan politics, a politician taking aim at either another politician or the "other" party, etc. So I thought "If they have time to tweet about why we shouldn't like another politician/candidate or why one party is better than the other or what exactly the other party is doing wrong, they should CERTAINLY have time to read - and respond to - a tweet about an issue that affects constituents across party lines!"

I proceeded to tweet to all four something along the lines of  
 Pls make care/research for  a priority. Signed,1 of your voters  via 
It had to be tweaked and edited depending on who I was tweeting, to allow for the 140 character limit. However, that is the copy-and-pasted tweet I sent to Congressman Carter

After that, I thought "Why not tweet about this to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney too? To them, I tweeted 
"What is your stance on bettering care&improving access to that care for women w/ ? What about research?"

I'm not holding my breath that any of them will respond to my one tweet. Really, my hope is that more people will see this and start tweeting the same types of questions and requests to THEIR elected officials and to the presidential candidates. My one little voice may not register on their radar but hopefully, if we can get a whole bunch of voices raised together, they'll start to listen (and maybe even respond?). 

Let's start a Twitter campaign to bring awareness of the need for PostPartum Mood Disorder research to be made a higher priority on a national level, to the need for our elected officials to work to improve the standards and quality of care for those who are suffering or will do so in the future, to improve the ease of access and affordability to this care so that no woman has to worry about whether her insurance will cover her care or whether she'll be able to find a medical professional who will help her how she needs it, when she needs it. Let's remind our elected officials that they are elected by us to work for us, to represent us and our interests. Will you join me in this endeavor?

If you don't know who your elected officials are, find out. Once you know, look up and see if they have Twitter accounts(I've been able to find this information on their .gov websites). I've provided the Twitter handles for the President, the two US Senators from Texas, and the Congressman who represents Texas District 31 in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Once you have the Twitter info you need, Tweet away. Feel free to use the tweets I sent out or compose your own. The main thing is to let them know that we will not be silent, that we are here, and that we are watching and listening, that we expect them to do their jobs in taking care of us, even if it means taking a break from party politics and (heaven forbid!) working together. And one of the beauties of this is that as we tweet about this, every time we @ one of those politicians, everyone who follows them can see that tweet. We have the potential to reach literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.

If you don't have Twitter or don't use it or, for whatever reason, don't want to get involved on Twitter. You can still join in the effort. Link this post and others related on your Facebook. Send it to your friends and family. There are so many ways that you can help spread the word that it's time to make Capitol Hill take notice. Many of us suffered through a PPMD in silence, our families may have suffered in silence with us. We don't have to be silent any longer. Will you join me?

If you have ideas or suggestions, please feel free to comment and share them here!

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