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NAMI Releases a New Report on Research Needs for Serious Mental Illness

NAMI released an important report from its Task Force on Research: "Roadmap to Recovery & Cure"--calling for large increases in severe mental illness research and a closer alignment of the research and treatment system. A complete copy of the report can be found at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce.

A panel of leading experts and advocates formed the task force. It was co-chaired by Dr. Edward Scolnick, President Emeritus of Merck Research Laboratories, and Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI’s Medical Director. The task force was coordinated by the executive committee of NAMI's Scientific Council, including Dr. Jack Gorman, Dr. Carol Tamminga, Dr. Robert Drake, and Dr. Kimberly Hoagwood.

The task force concluded the following:

- Unique opportunities for significant treatment advance through research are present at the current time.

- The need for improved treatments is clear, as reflected in the suffering of consumers and family members affected by mental illnesses, as well as the large expenditures on this population.

- Research and treatment must be more closely connected so that all consumers can receive existing effective treatments and so that new interventions can be rapidly tested and disseminated.

- The National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) budget should be increased by $1 billion over the next 5 years with increased prioritization of serious mental illness research at NIMH.

- Budgetary increases at NIMH should be distributed among the areas of research with the most promise to advance the treatment of mental illness, specifically basic, clinical, and health services research.

- Policy-relevant clinical research must be expanded. This is a key way in which research and the service system can be improved.

This report is but the first step in a newly launched campaign to expand severe mental illness research and rapidly translate the results of that research into better services. At this point, we urge you to review the report at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce and to take the following action:

- Write to your member of Congress, supporting a $200 million increase in severe mental illness research at the NIMH this year at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce;

- Write to the leadership of the Senate appropriations committee (Senators Specter and Harkin) thanking them for their ongoing leadership and calling for a $200 million increase in severe mental illness research at the NIMH this year at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce;

- Write to President Bush, asking him to implement the findings of his own Commission and to increase NIMH funding by $200 million this year at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce;

- Write to the director of the NIMH, Dr. Thomas Insel, thanking him for his vision to seek a cure for schizophrenia and urging him to continue working to increase the agency’s focus on research that will achieve that goal as rapidly as possible at www.nami.org/sciencetaskforce.

Please write to abigail@nami.org to tell us what action you take and what response you receive.

Thank you for advocating for improved treatments for severe mental illnesses!

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