Anyone who's been reading the papers (or me) knows that the term 'mental illness' has now lost all meaning. As the psychiatric/pharmaceutical/healthcare industrial complex has medicalized all forms of normalcy, the government has decided to follow suit by largely abandoning research on serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in favor of research on how to make the worried well less worried.
Fortunately families of those affected have stepped up to fill the gap by establishing three organizations dedicated to finding cures for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Please donate to them.
NARSAD has awarded over $256 million and 3,775 grants to researchers who have helped pioneer breakthroughs in deciphering how the brain develops. I strongly recommend this organization because as an unpaid member of their Leadership Council I know how efficient and effective they are
NARSAD was founded in 1981 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and others and came into it's own under the leadership of my heros, Connie Lieber and Stephen Lieber. They were visionaries who realized, that at that time, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was failing to research serious mental illness and saw the need for private efforts to do what government was failing to do. NARSAD uses a highly scrupulous and reknowned scientific advisory board to ensure that donations to NARSAD go where they are most likely to be helpful. They focus on two areas: the neurobiology of mental illness and the application of research to help people. They also fund "Young Researchers" in order to encourage more people to enter the field.
The Liebers ensure that every dollar goes to research by underwriting the office expenses. You can't go wrong donating to them if you want to help find a cure.
The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), like NARSAD, is near and dear to my heart. Since 1989, SMRI has supported more than $300 million in research in over 30 countries and become the largest nongovernmental source of funds for research on these diseases in the United States. (THANK YOU STANLEYS!)
Founded and primarily funded by two generations of the wonderful Stanley family, they have a beautifully, tightly focused agenda: research on the causes of, and treatments for, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They are interested in the scientific research most likely to lead to cure or prevention. SMRI's research efforts are led by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, the nation's leading schizophrenia researcher and Robert H. Yolken, M.D. one of the nation's leading virology and bipolar researchers. They have the world's largest collection of brain tissue and the world's largest collection of DNA (with and without mental illness) which they make available to researchers around the world; and their own neurobiology and neurovirology laboratories. They also conduct treatment trials.
On the policy level, SMRI is the supporting organization for the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), an organization that provides policy guidance for states looking to improve care for the seriously ill, while simultaneously keeping the public safer and saving money. (Disclosure: I am former board member).
The newest organization, International Mental Health Research Organization, like the others, is committed to funding research. They've raised over $94 million in just 15 years. But they also, like other non-research organizations (NAMI, MHA, etc.) work on raising awareness of mental illness in the hope that increased awareness will lead to increased funding and greater acceptance. They were largely responsible for the Glenn Close Public Service Announcement that recently aired.
Please support these organizations financially.