By Bart Magee, Ph.D.
Why have we not cured mental illness? And more importantly, why is there no movement advocating for that goal? May is mental health awareness month which means it’s the month of the year when we see more discussion of the problems related to mental health than in any other. We will hear, again, that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, leaving billions of dollars in lost productivity, devastating pain, and death in its wake. We will read more stories of the harrowing struggles of individuals suffering in isolation. We will hear more calls for early detection, intervention, and increased awareness. What we won’t hear about is a strategy to fully address the problem. Despite billions of dollars of research and millions of pages of published study, not only do we lack a comprehensive theory of mental illness, but our current efforts to manage it are falling short, as rates of illness are rising. So it’s time for us to ask the hard question: What would it look like if mental illness were solved or “cured” and how can we make that happen? In the next few posts, I’d like to address that question. First, how did we get here?