This year the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Thomas Insel, MD, has focused on increasing early prevention and early detection as a necessary component of mental healthcare. Insel argues that by re-thinking how we view mental illness, the focus can be shifted away from behavioral symptoms and toward the underlying causes. “If we waited for the ‘heart attack,’ we would be sacrificing 1.1 million lives every year in this country,” Insel said. ““That is precisely what we do today when we decide that everyone with one of these brain disorders, brain circuit disorders, has a behavior disorder. We wait until the behavior emerges. That’s not early detection, that’s not early prevention.”
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