Which comes first, cure or care? That’s the question Thomas Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, raised in a recent blog. Insel was reporting on discussion arising during a meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council. Some panel members urged more funding to implement existing knowledge that would directly improve care for patients with mental illnesses. Others took a different view, which Insel summarized as follows: “Current treatments are not good enough for too many,” he said. “[W]e need invest in the fundamental science of brain and behavior so that we can understand how to develop better treatments.” Funding both lines of research is important, said Insel.
However, long-term success depend on new discoveries. “[I]n many cases patients receiving the best of current care are not recovering,” said Insel. “We can blame the mental health care system, the absence of insurance or providers, or stigma, but the inconvenient truth is that our treatments are not good enough. NIMH has a critical role for ensuring that more effective medications, devices, and psychosocial treatments are available in the future.”
For more about future research direction in mental health in Psychiatric News, click here.
(Image: Mark Moran/Psychiatric News)