May 20, 2006

$9 Million to be Cut From US Mental Illness Reseach Budget

Research into schizophrenia and related mental illnesses is already greatly underfunded compared to other major disorders (see NIH funding summary). Now the US government is further reducing funding - see full news below:

Source: a NAMI press release.

The president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness today warned Congress that President Bush's proposed $9 million cut in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) budget will erode progress in finding new treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression -- condemning millions of Americans to chronic disability.

Dr. Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, NAMI board president, a practicing psychiatrist, and a person living with bipolar disorder, told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that she herself has had periods of severe illness, including catatonic episodes and three suicide attempts.

"Due to aggressive treatment and social supports I am living a full life. I am thankful," she said. "But many people in our country have not yet achieved recovery."

"If Congress cuts funding to NIMH as the President has suggested we will continue to have millions of people in this country with chronic disability and a $40 billion dollar loss in economic productivity for schizophrenia alone."

Because of past doubling of NIMH's research budget, NAMI testified, the agency has been able to sponsor "vitally important real world trials" that are creating opportunities to define individualized treatment strategies and future medication options -- as well as laying a foundation for "third generation" medications that will not be realized without further support from the federal government.

In addition, Vogel-Scibilia noted:

* "Genome studies for serious mental illness that could transform
understanding of the causes and risk factors for these devastating
illnesses and open new avenues for effective treatment will collapse
without adequate funding."

* "We will be unable to advance schizophrenia and bipolar research
progress. One example is understanding if early intervention with
medication, therapy and rehabilitation will prevent disability or
morbidity in persons with new onset schizophrenia."

* "Lastly we will be unable to address and prevent the epidemic of suicide in this country including a substantial number of our young people."

Source: NAMI


wow, this is disgusting.. there are no words.

Posted by: Vykky at May 26, 2006 01:02 PM

In Australia, as elsewhere, political parties are being blamed because of the rising cases of mental health. I think that it is time for politics to be taken out of mental health. Get back to the doctors who are diagnosing people with mental conditions and sort it out.
In my case, a locum diagnosed me in the first place with sz, then another new doctor 9 months later, put a couple more mental tags on me.

So for 20 months, I accepted the mental diagnosis, until I began to suffer, what I later found out to be, horrific neurological symptoms. Because of the mental diagnosis, my symptoms were not believed. I treated myself with a treatment for a neurological illness in livestock. After 18 months of researching and experimentation, my symptoms started to reverse and it took another year to get reasonably well.

There is a list of 18 symptoms of mental conditions. You are supposed to have at least 6 of those symptoms over a period of 2 years, before any diagnosis is made. I had voices for about 3 WEEKS, before I went to the doctor - voices were not even on that list.
I wonder how many other people are diagnosed mental, just because of voices. I had the voices for 20 months before I began to suffer neurological symptoms.
WHY won't anyone listen? Is it because of me hearing voices? Is it because no-one really cares?

When diagnosed as with a mental condition, and your symptoms are not believed, I suppose in time you get sick of trying to tell doctors otherwise and just take the medication. I believe it is about time that our voice be heard. But after 5 years of speaking out about my experience, no-one has taken any notice.
How do I get heard?

Posted by: ainee at June 1, 2006 04:37 PM

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