Dateline NBC will air an episode Friday night devoted entirely to the trials and eventual success of a man struggling with the severe brain disorder schizophrenia. The story features Luca, who, just a few years ago, roamed the streets of New York City without receiving the treatment and support he needed. He became addicted to crack cocaine and was hospitalized four times.
Finally, Luca's case came to the attention of New York physician Ralph Aquila, who works with Fountain House, a clubhouse that provides community support, housing and an employment program for people with severe mental illness. Dr. Aquila was able to find a bed for Luca at Fountain House, provide access to new generation medications and start him on the road to recovery.
As NAMI members know, stigmatizing misperceptions about people with schizophrenia and other serious brain disorders are widely held in our society. Luca's inspirational story of hope and recovery will help others see that effective interventions exist and make a life-saving difference. With appropriate medication and support services, the treatment success rate for schizophrenia is 60 percent, higher than the treatment success rate for heart disease. Unfortunately, a recent national study has documented that fewer than 50 percent of individuals who struggle with schizophrenia receive the care that science has proven to work. The healthcare system must make the treatments and services that proved effective for Luca available to the many who have not yet been given the chance to pursue recovery.
The program airs on Dateline NBC, Friday, August 20, 9:00 - 10:00 p.m. EST.
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