Mental illness severely impacts the nation: 9.6 million (4.1%) adults had serious mental illness in 2012.* The burden of mental illness in the USA is among the highest of all diseases, and mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability.** The costs to the U.S. economy due to mental illness are in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year.*** More staggering, estimates of the global costs of mental illness in 2010 were nearly $2.5 trillion.**** Bringing all of this illness and suffering closer to home, Oklahoma’s levels of mental illness and access to treatment are among the most severe.*****
*National Institutes of Mental Health, 2012
**U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014
***Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011
****World Health Organization, 2011; National
Institutes of Mental Health, 2011
The practice of psychiatry has not changed much in the last 30 years. The challenges to creating positive change are many. Reliance on patients’ self-reported symptoms results in poor diagnoses. This reliance exists because clinicians do not have the objective, physiological diagnostic tools that other clinicians have to assess other diseases. These lackluster diagnoses deliver “treatments” that may not even address the underpinnings of the symptoms, and therefore, the treatments yield results for the patient that are not much better than chance.
“We need to generate research results that change psychiatric practice. That starts with knowing what are the critical questions to ask and with bringing clinicians together with researchers.”
--Martin Paulus, M.D.*
*Scientific Director and President of
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Inc.
The William K. Warren Foundation’s funding has empowered LIBR researchers to investigate scientific hypotheses that were too novel for other funding sources. Over the last two years alone, 15 of these novel hypotheses have translated into grants from outside funding organizations such as the National Institutes of Mental Health, Department of Defense, a major pharmaceutical company, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Stanley Medical Research Foundation, and Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology. Collaborations with research universities continue, and scientific research papers are published in the world’s top journals every year. These benchmarks of LIBR’s success are resulting in expansion of facilities and modalities, as well as intellectual property that may one day make a serious dent in mental illness. In the research world, this is real progress.