Leading global experts have stated that a coordinated, diverse effort has the potential to reduce suicide, psychosis, and mental illness-related disability by 50% by 2030. However, the current level of unmet need in brain health is significant. There are many interventions that could be made today to address the gap; some of these require changes to healthcare systems or a shift in mindsets to reduce stigma. Yet one critical element to reducing the often-tragic outcomes of mental illness over the long term is to better understand the biological processes that underpin brain health.
Aligning non-scientific stakeholders like policymakers and employers in a concerted effort to prioritize mental health will positively impact the amount and quality of biomedical research undertaken by public and private organizations and drive progress in the field. Scientific learnings are promoted and scaled in tandem with increased public awareness and stakeholder advocacy, and in turn, research has a key role to play in communicating the importance of brain health to a broader audience.
(N)euroscientists today are not only proving how the brain works, but also that many of the symptoms of brain disorders can be addressed, and that living successfully with these illnesses is possible when supported with the appropriate interventions. To spark the process of recovery there has to be public recognition that brain disorders may be manageable and there must be no shame and no stigma attached to seeking diagnosis and embarking on what can be a long and difficult road to mental well-being. Biomedical advances will work in tandem with other progressive efforts arising in society, such as a growing interest in maintaining a work-life balance or advocacy of methods to mitigate stress. All of these advancements are important and collectively will have a powerful impact, and medical discovery will accelerate many societal, as well as scientific, objectives.
From Forbes Magazine Online.