Category Mental Health Reform

Turning Our Eyes Back to the Brain

Doug Williamson

Doug Williamson, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer & Vice President for Lundbeck U.S. Drug Development

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the American Brain Coalition in developing this series.

An epidemic
The world’s quietest healthcare crisis is one that starts between the ears.

When it comes to mental illness, the statistics are nearly too staggering to process. For instance, today, depression alone costs Americans an estimated $210 billion dollars each year, as millions of patients across the country struggle with a range of disabling symptoms – from loss of energy to insomnia to poor concentration – as well as massive lost productivity in the classroom, in the workforce, and on the home front. Meanwhile, while we are making such incredible strides in our treatment of cancer, Hepatitis C, HIV, and many other diseases, the tragedy and expense of mental illness accumulates by the day. According to the World Health Organization, by 2030, depression will be the leading global burden of disease.

Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical companies focused solely on the brain, has remained steadfast in our vision of improving the lives of people suffering from psychiatric and neurological disorders. In recent years, many other companies have scaled back their R&D (Research and Development) in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, if they haven’t abandoned the space entirely. As a community invested in mental health, we have to bring them back and entice others to join the fight for better CNS treatments, especially if we want to bend the curve in challenging disease areas like depression.

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The Future for Depression Is Bright, But We Have to Be Patient

William Z. Potter

William Z. Potter, M.D., Ph.D., Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the American Brain Coalition and the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

Despite the hurdles that stand in the way of developing new treatments for depression and other mood disorders, I believe we have every reason to be optimistic.

When it comes to science, time is on our side, and the landscape for drug development will look much, much different in 10 to 20 years when we have a better understanding of the brain. But in the meantime, we need to find ways to help the millions of people who are suffering now.

The good news is, scientists, drug companies, and government agencies have begun to adopt a more inclusive model in order to work more efficiently and achieve better results.

By engaging in public/private partnerships, better focusing our research efforts, and enlisting the support of patients and advocates, we’re on our way to finding innovative solutions for this complex problem.

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To Heal Depression, We Have to Learn More About the Brain

William Z. Potter

William Z. Potter, M.D., Ph.D., National Institutes of Health

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the American Brain Coalition and the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

With 350 million people worldwide suffering from depression and diagnoses rising steadily since the 1980s, you’d hope scientists would have a thorough understanding of this pervasive condition. Needless to say, we don’t. Not even close.

Despite decades of study, we’re just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to understanding the brain. Its complexity has proved a huge hurdle when it comes to developing effective new treatments for the millions of people dealing with depression.

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Repealing the ACA Could Cause a Mental Health Care Crisis

Jeffrey Harman, PhD
College of Medicine, Florida State University

Care For Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers for developing this post.

Our nation’s healthcare system has made impressive progress in the last several years. As a direct result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we’ve reached a record low uninsured rate; the number of unpaid medical bills (or bad debt) has plummeted; and 20 million Americans now have insurance purchased through the ACA marketplace.

But there are imminent threats facing this hard-won progress. Our newly-elected president is staunchly opposed to the ACA. He and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal Obamacare, with no clear plan for what would replace it.

If they succeed, our country could be facing a health care crisis of unprecedented proportions. Millions of Americans could lose their coverage; hospitals could go bankrupt; people could pay thousands more in out-of-pocket costs.

Is our current healthcare system perfect? Of course not. But it’s a lot better than it was eight years ago, particularly for people living with mental health conditions. We need to continue to improve on what we’ve built, not abandon all progress and attempt to start from scratch.

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