NAMI Endorses Campaign To Double NIH Funding

“NIH-2” Key To Efforts To Develop New Treatments For Serious Brain Disorders

Mar 19 1998

Arlington, VA - The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) today rallied behind a new national campaign to double federal funding for biomedical research before 2000. The effort, known as NIH-2 is being supported by a broad coalition of patient groups, medical researchers and scientists who are committed to a substantial increase in America’s national investment in medical research.

“Biomedical research is the key to a better future for persons with serious brain disorders and their families,” said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. “A few short years ago, a cure for diseases of the brain such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were unthinkable. Now, basic scientific and clinical research is beginning to offer promise that new treatments will be developed over the next decade that will make these illnesses a thing of the past. However, these advances simply will not happen without a substantial boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH),” Flynn added.

“As the nation’s leading organization representing people with serious brain disorders and their families, NAMI is proud to be a part of this effort to make doubling the NIH budget before the turn of the century a key health care priority for the nation,” said Flynn.

The brain disorders of concern to NAMI – schizophrenia, major depression, manic-depressive illness, and severe anxiety disorders – are some of the most disabling and costly diseases our nation faces, (nearly $150 billion a year in direct and indirect costs). A recent World Health Organization study found that severe mental illness constitutes 40% of the total loss of health life due to non-communicable diseases – a figure that is expected to climb to 60% by 2020. “Our country simply cannot afford to put off the investment in research that is needed to develop new treatments that will lower the ever-growing costs of these illnesses to taxpayers, the business community and families,” said Flynn.

“NAMI’s grassroots membership intends to play a key role in spreading the word to legislators, policy-makers and opinion-makers that mental illnesses are brain disorders, that treatment works and that research holds the key to the development of advanced treatment that will save lives and ease the burden on consumers and families,” concluded Flynn.