Addressing Postpartum Depression as a Health Disparity Area

Health disparities are the variations in different populations’ health statuses. Some populations have higher prevalence of specific diseases or health conditions such as postpartum depression than other populations. Some populations suffer higher levels of suffering and mortality from particular diseases or health conditions than other populations. The variations may be traced to differences in varied factors, including income levels, geography, sexual orientation, gender, disability, race, political and legal dynamics, immigrant status, and ethnicity (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2014; Mason, Leavitt & Chaffee, 2012). In some contexts, health disparities are appreciated as the variations in the availability of or access to given healthcare services and facilities. One of the commonest health disparity areas is postpartum depression. Postpartum depression affects many women annually within a year of delivering babies. At times, it affects the women’s partners. Ideally, postpartum depression symptoms should be treated immediately lest they impact on mothers and their families and babies considerably over time. This essay examines postpartum depression as a health disparity area and the MSPEDRCA (Melanie Stokes Postpartum Depression and Research and Care Act). The MSPEDRCA is a law that seeks to address and possibly eliminate the health disparity area among other purposes.

The majority of women feel anxious or tearful for a few weeks after delivering babies. Such feelings are commonly christened baby blues and are so frequent that they are deemed normal. Baby blues last for only a few weeks. If they start later or last for many weeks, those experiencing them could develop postpartum depression. Those suffering postpartum depression may have persistent moodiness and sadness, be reserved, lack energy, feel continually tired, or have troubled sleep. They may have challenges binding with their young ones, withdraw from their social circles, become inattentive, and have frightening thoughts. Postpartum depression has been shown by several studies, including the study by Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) to be an obvious health disparity area at present.

In their study, Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) sought to typify the racial-ethnic variations in the usage of the available mental healthcare resources that are linked to postpartum depression within a multiethnic Medicaid recipient cohort. Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) established that there are considerable racial-ethnic variations in mental healthcare, which is related to postpartum depression, following delivery. They presented results that continue to outline a bleak actuality for Black, as well as Latin, women. The results demonstrate that Black women have a lower chance of being screened for postpartum depression than White women. The results demonstrate that Latin women have a lower chance of being screened for postpartum depression than White women.

As well, Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) to demonstrate that Black women have a lower probability of getting treated for postpartum depression than White women. Latin women have a lower probability of getting treated for postpartum depression than White women.  Besides, the results demonstrate that Black women have a lower probability of receiving postpartum depression follow-up healthcare than White women. Latin women have a lower probability of receiving postpartum depression follow-up healthcare than White women (Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp & Adams, 2011).

Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) established that there is a high probability that specific treatment teams will attribute the postpartum depression symptoms among Latin women to different ailments rather than postpartum depression. Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) established that there is a high probability that specific treatment teams will attribute the postpartum depression symptoms among Black women to different ailments rather than postpartum depression. As well, there is a high probability that specific treatment teams will attribute the postpartum depression symptoms among Black women to different ailments rather than postpartum depression. There is a higher prevalence of suboptimal treatment for postpartum depression among women from poor, or, low-income, neighborhoods predominated by Blacks than in high-income neighborhoods that are predominated by Whites. As well, there is a higher prevalence of suboptimal treatment for postpartum depression among women from poor, or, low-income, neighborhoods predominated by Latinos than in high-income neighborhoods that are predominated by Whites.

While many Black women and Latin women are not screened regularly for postpartum depression, in some screening processes for the same health condition they are bypassed. There is always a high chance that other conditions will be blamed when they express postpartum depression symptoms. The disparity is rather compounded by the actuality that most women at an elevated risk for postpartum depression are themselves not strong advocates for their causes and interests. Considerable numbers of women from minority ethnic populations are not aware of postpartum depression’s facts and that are ill-placed to advocate for related matters. Even though more and more women are becoming aware of postpartum depression, there are yet many of them who still fall through the cracks owing to systemic racism and oppression. Kozhimannil, Trinacty, Busch, Huskamp and Adams (2011) calls on the general society to care for those who are markedly vulnerable, including Black and Latino women at the risk of developing postpartum depression.

It is clear the women have specific reasons for worry regarding the risk owing to own cultural perspectives relating to mental illness. Among Blacks, those who are mentally ill suffer marked levels of stigma. Many Black mothers are not keen on seeking medical attention regarding postpartum depression up to that time when the related symptoms are quite severe. During that time, the treatment of the condition is rather challenging. The women lose otherwise valuable time before having the condition managed medically, letting it become life-threatening. Mostly, the women are served by ineffective social-support programs or systems as they are socioeconomically underprivileged. In many countries, there are postpartum care services for minority populations that are culturally competent. That creates a perception or even a prejudice challenge or problem regarding the same.

Specific laws are at times enacted to address specific healthcare issues according to Guido (2014) and Hacker and Sommers (2014). As noted earlier, the MSPEDRCA is a law that seeks to address and possibly eliminate the health disparity area among other purposes. Melanie Stokes, after whom the act is named, committed suicide in Chicago as she was battling postpartum psychosis. The act requires the HHS (Health and Human Services) secretary, NIH (National Institutes of Health) directors and the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) to not only intensify but also expand research on postpartum depression. The research is aimed at establishing postpartum depression etiologies. As well, the research is geared towards developing enhanced diagnostic techniques as well as treatments for the condition conditions according to OLPA (2016).

The act grants finances to local and state governments, nonprofit along with profit hospitals, and CBOs (community-based organisations) to deliver elementary and quality services to those suffering postpartum psychosis or postpartum depression. Besides, the act grants finances to local and state governments, nonprofit along with profit hospitals, and CBOs (community-based organisations) to deliver elementary and quality services to the families of those suffering postpartum psychosis or postpartum depression. The services include comprehensive case management, comprehensive support services, comprehensive treatment, and comprehensive screening offered indiscriminately conditions according to OLPA (2016).

The act obligates the NIMH to ensure that it coordinates own activities regarding postpartum depression, as well the related NIH items or components, with roles that are linked to postpartum psychosis and postpartum depression. The act obligates the NIMH to execute, as well as support, clinical and elementary research, education and information programs, diagnostic techniques, and epidemiological studies to grow the appreciation of what causes and what can cure postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. It requires federal agencies that have healthcare components to facilitate meetings aimed at formulating research plans for the two conditions according to OLPA (2016).

I support the act and its operationalization since it has marked potential for helping in the provision of support services and care to all women afflicted by postpartum depression devoid of discrimination. I support it since it has the capacity for helping educate all mothers along with own families about postpartum depression. Overall, the act will put an end the status of postpartum depression as a health disparity area.

The act has varied stakeholders: women at the risk of developing postpartum depression, the women’s families, the HHS, the NIH, the NIMH, local and state governments, nonprofit along with profit hospitals, and CBOs. The act will especially ensure that the women, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, get quality support services and treatment for postpartum depression. The women will enjoy increased access to the quality support services and treatment for postpartum depression. The act will see the HHS, the NIH, and the NIMH incur more and more cost in executing, as well as supporting, clinical and elementary research, education and information programs, diagnostic techniques, and epidemiological studies to grow the appreciation of what causes and what can cure postpartum depression. The local and state governments, nonprofit along with profit hospitals, and CBOs will also incur more costs in ensuring that their postpartum depression programs cover all women devoid of discrimination to end the status of postpartum depression as a health disparity area (OLPA, 2016).

The following table contains an action plan to affect the status of postpartum depression as a health disparity area. The table contains descriptions of the particular actions that I propose in the plan.

Impact Area Proposed Actions
Education and Counseling
  • Counsel expectant and new mothers on where they can get postpartum care cost-effectively and promptly
  • Educate them on the condition’s risk factors
  • Make out, as well as promote, educational formats and messages that can enhance behaviors, skills, attitudes, and knowledge regarding postpartum depression management
Research
  • Support the efforts of the HHS, the NIH, and the NIMH in executing, as well as supporting, clinical and elementary research to grow the appreciation of what causes and what can cure postpartum depression
  • Participate in the research
Making individuals’ decisions healthy
  • Promote the planning of reproductive health to lessen the numbers of those who shy away from getting postpartum care.
  • Develop, as well as implement, service networks to make certain that all mothers at the risk of developing postpartum depression are connected to suitable community resources
Socioeconomic factors
  • Collaborate with government agencies and varied community sectors in their efforts aimed at addressing health’s social determinants, including availability of quality social support to minority populations.

There will be a need to appraise the plan’s effectiveness. The effectiveness will be appraised regularly. Elementarily, the effectiveness will be appraised by examining changes in the numbers of Blacks and Latinos seeking and getting quality postpartum depression care in the local hospitals and other healthcare facilities over time.

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