New law acknowledges tragic effects of untreated post-partum depression, psychosisSPRINGFIELD – Illinois will become the first state in the nation acknowledging the correlation between postpartum depression and psychosis and certain crimes committed by women, after a new law was signed this week by the governor.

House Bill 1764, sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), allows women charged with certain felonies to challenge court sentences of crimes committed as a direct result of suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. The new law also allows a court to consider a defendant’s postpartum depression or psychosis as a mitigating factor during sentencing.

“For too many women who have recently given birth and are suffering from postpartum depression or psychosis, issues of guilt are common,” Hutchinson said. “While not every woman who feels down after giving birth suffers from postpartum depression or psychosis, it is important that we recognize this is a real health issue that can have potentially tragic consequences if left untreated.”

Nearly 15 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth, with common feelings of loneliness, sadness, trouble concentrating and making decisions. In serious cases, thoughts of harm to herself or her baby occur. Untreated, postpartum depression has the potential to last for years and can have lasting effects on the baby.

Postpartum psychosis, while affecting only one in 1,000 women, is a more serious condition with symptoms that include delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Symptoms often come on suddenly and can change rapidly.

“It is my hope this new law will undercover the true suffering of women dealing with postpartum depression and psychosis and unleash a new era of understanding,” Hutchinson said.

House Bill 1764 was signed by the governor this week and takes effect immediately.

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