Our coalition, Cure Brain Disease, has grown much stronger over these last two years, and we are optimistic that our initiatives are gaining ground. We have remained steadfast in our mission to increase research funding in order to discover the root causes of serious mental health conditions so that we may develop effective treatments and cures. By using cutting edge genetic and epigenetic research, we feel this is well within our reach.
Recent advances in science provide clear evidence that genetics and epigenetics play a key role in serious mental health conditions. In other words, some people are born with a genetic predisposition (an increased likelihood of developing) a mental health disorder, and this is based on their inherited genetic make-up. In combination with environmental risk factors, the possibility for developing a serious mental health disorder can be elevated.
Traditionally, our mental health treatments have relied heavily on psychological therapies, and less on searching for the biological causes. These therapies have been found beneficial for some people in symptom management. However, many find no benefit at all. This is not to suggest that psychological therapy is unimportant. It can be very helpful, but we need to do more than hope to manage symptoms. We must get to the root causes for mental disorders in order to find truly effective, long-term treatments and cures.
So, here is the question. What if we could detect serious mental health conditions early on through the use of simple blood tests? What if we could treat these conditions before they have a chance to advance to debilitating or life-threatening levels? Again, this is within our reach. But many of us will need to change our way of thinking first.
In order to change our way of thinking, we must answer a few more questions. Why have we, as a society, been so averse to searching for the genetic causes to brain disorders? Is it possible that we have been taught from an early age that our mental health is something we should always be able to control? Mind over matter, so to speak? Is there continued stigma surrounding the genetic component to mental health disorders? If so, why?
20% of us are living with some type of mental health condition in any given year. And many of us die due to them. Isn’t it time to wake up and speak out? According to AFSP, studies show that a mental health condition is present in 90% of suicide deaths. Furthermore, studies show that those having serious mental disorders are at an increased risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and certain cancers. And other studies show a clear connection between mental disorders and fatal opioid overdoses.
With this being said, there is no mention of these underlying and precipitating mental health factors when looking at the mortality rates of the conditions just mentioned. Therefore, mental health disease plays a much larger role than the numbers indicate.
The good news is that the world may be finally understanding that mental disorders are real biological conditions and that we must search for answers. Mental health is brain health, and brain health is physical health. Therefore, Mental Health = Physical Health.
Our coalition has been very involved in contacting and meeting with our home states' US representatives and senators. We've also met with key members of national non-profit organizations. All are very supportive of more research, but they need to hear from you. It takes all of us to make a change.
If you care about the mental well-being of a loved one, or if you have a concern for your own mental health, please write to any representative you see from your home state to let them know you want increased funding to go into genetic/epiginetic research for serious mental health conditions. It’s a simple letter, but means so much. Contact information is provided below. Also, if you have any helpful ideas for us in getting our message out, please fill out our 'Join Us' page. Your comments will not be made public.
Thank you all. One thing I’ve learned on this journey is that it truly takes the voices of all of the people to create change. Please help us to create the change!
US House of Representatives:
US Senate Members: