Posted: Dec 19, 2012 6:21 PM by Marnee Banks (email@example.com)
In the wake of the Newtown shootings that killed 27 people, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is asking Montanans to petition the White House to focus resources on diagnosing mental illness.
NAMI Montana executive director Matt Kuntz says the nation must develop methods of diagnosing brain conditions based on actual biology, not just symptoms.
Kuntz said, "The mental illness treatment system in how it figures out whether or not someone has a brain condition is basically at the same stage of the game that doctors were trying to diagnose broken bones before there were x-rays. I would bet then there were a lot of people walking around with broken bones that didn't have casts, and a lot of people that had casts that didn't have broken bones. And that is exactly where the mental illness treatment world is right now."
Kuntz says the petition asks the President to make funding for mental illness diagnosis a national priority.
"America cannot afford to wait for someone else to solve this medical technology problem. As we were reminded again in Newtown, there is simply too much at stake," Kuntz says. "It's time for the President and Congress to step up to the challenge."
Here is the full text of the petition; click here to learn more and/or to add your name to it:
launch a coordinated national effort to identify biological markers of serious mental illness to fight these conditions.
The only way to truly prevent these tragedies, not just to the scope of the tragedies, is to focus on the mental illnesses at their root. The current process of diagnosing these brain conditions based upon subjective tests and symptom clusters is simply not good enough.
There is promising research in blood testing, brain scans, and other screening technology; but our nation does not have a concerted and well-funded effort to move this research beyond the lab and into the hands of clinicians and the desperate families they serve.
America cannot afford to wait for someone else to solve this medical technology problem.