News accounts of recent events in Washington point to the Capitol chase suspect's history of postpartum depression ["Seeking a motive," News, Oct. 5]. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal depression affects up to 19 percent of mothers and 4 percent of fathers within the first year after birth. The good news is that the negative consequences of postpartum depression are preventable with proper mental health screening and treatment.
The CDC instituted a surveillance project aimed at early identification of maternal depression. Two questions that they asked moms were: 1) Since your new baby was born, how often have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless? and 2) Since your new baby was born, how often have you had little interest or little pleasure in doing things? The women who answered "often" or "always" to either question were classified as experiencing self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms.
We must encourage primary care physicians and other health professionals to incorporate these questions into their encounters with patients.
Andrew Malekoff, Long Beach
Editor's note: The writer is the executive director for the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Manhasset.