KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 3/21/10, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews H. Clarke Romans, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Southern Arizona, and Dr. Francisco Moreno, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and NAMISA board member.  It is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 5 families in America.

Romans says mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning.  He says the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a free, 12-week course for family, friends, and loved ones of individuals with severe mental illnesses. He says it focuses on care for the caregiver and on how to cope with worry, stress, and emotional overload.

Moreno says research is focusing on the biology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, geared to improve our understanding of the brain basis for mental illness and the underlying mechanism of action of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, and treatment resistance.  He says on average, people with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. He says one reason is that less than a third of adults and less than half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.

Romans says the best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective.  He says between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.