Shining a Light on Postpartum Depression

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  • How Climate Change Feeds ‘Eco-Anxiety’
  • Domestic Violence
  • Trump’s Strategy: Stall
  • Making a Minyan to Mourn Together

Credit…Travis Dove for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Look at Life in the Throes of Postpartum Depression” (news article, July 6):

Thank you for bringing attention to postpartum depression. Unfortunately, it is estimated that up to half of women with it never get screened and identified. And fewer get effective and adequate treatment.

Because so many of its symptoms, such as lack of energy and trouble concentrating, overlap with what normally occurs after delivery, it may not be suspected.

But when these symptoms coexist with a predominantly depressed mood that is present all day, when there is a loss of interest and a lack of pleasure, and when the symptoms last for at least two weeks, that is not a normal consequence of childbirth. And it needs to be evaluated and treated.

Without treatment, depression can last for months or years. In addition to the personal suffering, the depression can interfere with the mother’s ability to connect and interact with her baby, which can negatively affect the child’s development.

Deciding between the two types of treatment mentioned in your article, psychotherapy and medication, need not always be an either/or choice. As with many other forms of depression, a combination of the two may be most effective.

Monica N. Starkman
Ann Arbor, Mich.
The writer is an active emerita professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

To the Editor:

As the mom of a 6-week-old (she is asleep in my arms as I write this), I appreciate the increased coverage of postpartum depression and anxiety that I’ve noticed lately in this newspaper and other sources.

Since giving birth, I’ve been screened for those conditions more times than I can count — in the hospital, at my OB-GYN’s office and at my daughter’s pediatrician visits.

However, in my household, there are two moms: me (the birthing parent) and my wife. Though she may not be experiencing the same shifting hormones or bodily changes and demands as I am, my wife is certainly undergoing the radical life transformations associated with new parenthood.

Despite that, she has never been screened for postpartum depression or anxiety, though she currently suffers from the latter to the point that she can hardly sleep.

We should be screening all parents — birthing and non-birthing, regardless of gender or biological affiliation with the child — for postpartum depression and anxiety. And we should be including discussion about those individuals in publications such as this one to increase awareness.

Andrea B. Scott
Austin, Texas

How Climate Change Feeds ‘Eco-Anxiety’

A search and rescue worker in Cambridge, Vt. Officials said access to some communities remained almost completely cut off.Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Urgent Call in Vermont for Better Preparedness” (news article, July 13):

Vermont’s catastrophic flooding, and the flooding, fires, tornadoes and severe heat currently engulfing much of the nation, are obvious byproducts of climate change. Our growing fears over these destructive events are less obvious, since they are often left out of the conversation over climate change, even with the devastation left in our communities and the loss of lives that almost always follows these tragic events.

An unanticipated consequence of deadly climate change is “eco-anxiety,” the chronic fear of environmental collapse and community destruction. As therapists, we see more and more patients struggling with overwhelming feelings ranging from terror, disgust and rage to grief, sadness and despair.

A Lancet study of eco-anxiety showed that 46 percent of young adults in the U.S., and 56 percent globally, believe we are all doomed by climate change, especially with young people experiencing greater anxiety over their futures.

Fighting climate change requires science and action. It also requires integrating climate-aware therapy into the equation. We must provide mental resilience for our minds so that we can sustain the fight to repair climate change.

Barbara Easterlin
Leslie Davenport
San Francisco
The writers lead the California Institute of Integral Studies’ climate psychology certificate program.

Domestic Violence

Credit…Illustration by Shoshana Schultz/The New York Times; photographs by Michael Ochs Archives and Adam Gault/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Another Threat to Domestic Abuse Survivors,” by Kathy Hochul (Opinion guest essay, July 12):

Firearms and domestic violence are a deadly mix. Every day on average three women are killed by a current or former partner. When a male abuser has access to a gun, the risk he will kill a female partner increases by 1,000 percent. Abusers also use guns to wound, threaten, intimidate and terrorize victims.

Governor Hochul is right to be concerned for the safety of domestic violence survivors. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in United States v. Rahimi was dangerous and callously put millions of survivors and their children at risk. It also recklessly disposed of a law effective in reducing intimate partner homicides.

Dangerous abusers and others intent on harm should not have access to firearms. The National Network to End Domestic Violence urges the U.S. Supreme Court to put survivor safety front and center and overturn the Fifth Circuit’s misguided decision. Lives are at stake.

Melina Milazzo
The writer is deputy director of public policy, National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Trump’s Strategy: Stall

Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Bid to Delay Florida Trial Poses Key Early Test for Judge” (front page, July 12):

Donald Trump’s legal strategy is now clear: Delay, delay, delay until after the 2024 presidential election and do everything possible, legal or otherwise, to win that election, so that he will be able to either pardon himself or install a puppet attorney general who will dismiss all charges.

It may not be constitutional for him to pardon himself, but that would ultimately likely be decided by the Supreme Court, with its six-member right-wing supermajority, half of which was appointed by him.

It follows that for there to be any hope of justice being done, Mr. Trump can’t be allowed to use his presidential candidacy as an excuse to stall prosecution and can’t be allowed to regain the White House and use the power of the presidency to escape justice.

Eric B. Lipps
Staten Island

Making a Minyan to Mourn Together

Credit…Illustration by Shoshana Schultz/The New York Times; photograph by Jeff Swensen/Getty

To the Editor:

Re “By Killing 11 Jews, He Killed Something Else, Too,” by Mark Oppenheimer (Opinion guest essay, July 1):

Mr. Oppenheimer writes that the massacre of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh (the city where I was born and raised) not only tragically took the lives of these individuals but also has made it difficult for the synagogue to make a minyan, the quorum of 10 Jews required to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, among other prayers.

The reality is that making a minyan has been a problem for synagogues in this country long before the most recent wave of antisemitic events. As the ritual vice president for a Conservative synagogue in a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago, I see this problem firsthand.

We constantly struggle to get a full minyan at our weeknight services, potentially depriving those in mourning or observing a yahrzeit (anniversary of a death) the opportunity to recite Kaddish.

The requirement of a minyan reinforces a central value of Judaism: that we do not mourn alone, but as part of a supportive community. It’s incumbent on synagogues to convey this message to their congregations and preserve this age-old tradition.

Josh Charlson
Deerfield, Ill.

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