Expanded perinatal mental health screening advanced

A bill to expand mental health screening for women who have recently given birth advanced from general file March 14.

Sen. Lynne Walz
Sen. Lynne Walz

LB905, introduced by Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz, would allow the state Board of Medicine and Surgery to develop educational material, policies and procedures to address perinatal and postnatal mental health disorders.

The bill also would allow licensed health care professionals to educate pregnant women about perinatal and postnatal mental health and to offer pregnant women and new mothers a mental health screening questionnaire.

Walz said Nebraska is one of seven states without provisions in statute supporting maternal mental health and about one in seven mothers in Nebraska suffer from mental health issues. She said data shows that, since 2014, an average of one Nebraska woman a year who is pregnant or has recently given birth has committed suicide.

“This bill is a small step to prevent suicides and [help] keep mothers with their children,” she said.

Following the 42-0 adoption of a technical Health and Human Services Committee amendment, lawmakers voted 43-0 to advance the bill to select file.

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