The clinical psychologists and psychiatrists who are on the front lines with kids have told us that there are many unfunded research projects that, if funded, would lead to better treatments and possibly cures in the short-term. We AIM to help kids NOW.
Here are quotes from several top clinical doctors explaining the validity of clinical research:
“In medicine and particularly in mental health, funding is urgently needed for both 1. basic science, the understanding of the inner workings of cells (including neurons) and the unfathomable complexity of the brain, and 2. clinical science, which deals with developing (and disseminating) evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders and conditions.
Back in the early 1970s Nixon declared a war on cancer, which was criticized because how could cancer be conquered if there wasn’t even fundamental knowledge, at that time, about cell division, cell proliferation, and cell death. Arguably, now–with greater knowledge–clinical science can be promoted to battle cancer (but we still don’t know all the relevant processes).
What about conquering mental illness clinically now? Some would argue that it’s too early, as we still don’t know enough about the brain and about mind-body connections. True, but on the other hand, today’s evidence-based treatments for child, adolescent, and adult forms of mental illness do work–providing effects that, on average, are on par with the effects of most treatments for medical conditions. Alas, there are no cures yet for mental illness — but there are not, either, for chronic, multifactorial illnesses, either (coronary disease, cancers, Alzheimer’s, etc.). And it is a legitimate goal to develop, test, and better disseminate clinical treatments. Any given organization may not be able to fund both basic and applied efforts.”
One prominent researcher at Mass General wrote: “Much of the shift in government funding has focused on basic mechanisms of disease leaving the actual care of groups of children, particularly those with mental health conditions, uncovered. Moreover, biologics and pharmaceuticals have dramatically reduced their involvement in treatments for children. Given that a majority of mental health issues emerge in childhood, better understanding and treating these disorders in children not only improves the suffering of the children and their families, but changes the trajectory of these children as they age into adulthood.”
And a doctor at Stanford wrote: “We want to fund clinical research because it is harder and harder to get this kind of research funded nowadays. The NIMH, which funds most mental health research, has turned to funding more basic/bench research. They want to find mechanisms for how the brain works. That is important and should yield information that will eventually lead to clinical breakthroughs. But that is 10-20-more years away. Pharmaceutical companies still fund some clinical research, but they have their own specific goals and usually don’t fund enough of biological research other than medication trials. So clinical researchers are becoming extinct, and more dependent on philanthropy and charitable organizations to provide their funding.”