The nations first comprehensive center devoted to treatment, research and education in depression will be established at the Health System, as approved by the Regents at their November meeting.
The new U-M Depression Center will bring together and expand the Universitys wide range of coordinated patient care services; its extensive, world-class clinical and laboratory research efforts; its patient, family and community education programs; and its renowned training programs for health care professionals and students. This broad scope will make it the first such center in the United States, and allow the U-M to advance the field of depression on all fronts.
The time is right to focus all the resources we can on understanding and defeating this illness, and the social stigma that it carries, so that we can help the 18 million Americans who suffer from depression every year, says John Greden, the centers executive director. He added that the U-M now will embark on a major fundraising campaign to support the centers activities.
With the center, Greden says, We hope to lead the way in accelerating the pace of neuroscience research in depression, bringing the products of that research to patients, and reaching out to those who are coping with depression, those who care for them, and those who make decisions about their care. Greden is chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and the Rachel Upjohn Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences at the Medical School.
The center will address depression in people of all ages, as well as the postpartum, bipolar and treatment-resistant forms. More than 100 physicians, scientists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and staff form a network that will care for patients, conduct research and provide education.
Says Health System chief executive officer Gilbert S. Omenn, Were proud to lead the nation in enhancing and linking scientific studies of depression and care of depressed patients across many specialties. We invite the community and our peers to join us in our new venture.
Depression, which the World Health Organization has ranked as one of the top four most disabling diagnoses in the world, is a set of illnesses with complex physical and psychological rootsand one that challenges researchers, health care providers, patients, families, employers, insurers and governments alike. Its symptoms of hopelessness, sadness, energy loss, sleep and appetite disruption, restlessness and despair drain its victims of their ability to work, enjoy life and relate to loved ones. It may even rob them of their will to live.
As many as one in five women and one in eight men are at high risk of experiencing depression sometime in their lives, no matter what their race or socioeconomic status. Recent advances in medication and talk therapy have made depression more treatable than ever. But only about 10 percent of all people with depression receive adequate treatment, due to social stigma, lack of symptom awareness, poor diagnosis, incomplete treatment regimens and inability to pay.
The picture is changing, though. Greden points to recent events in the depression field, including scientific discoveries, public education campaigns, the availability of new and more cost-effective medications, media attention, improved health care training, and mental health insurance parity legislation.
Right now, the battle against depression is beginning to turn in our patients favor, as science provides new answers, pharmaceutical and treatment research provide new options, social acceptance provides new openness and government policy provides new means for coverage, Greden says. What better time to launch a comprehensive center to catalyze the momentum that we have?
The U-M Depression Center is now accepting donations from those who want to help it achieve its missions. Those interested in contributing may call Jim Thomas, Medical Center Office of Development, (734) 998-7705. Or, they may make a contribution online at www.med.umich.edu/depression, or mail contributions to the U-M Depression Center, Office of Development, 301 East Liberty Street, Suite 300, Ann Arbor, MI. 48104-2216. Checks should be made payable to the U-M Depression Center.