Mental health pioneer advocates early intervention

Oct 7, 2014

Dr. William McFarlane will address NAMI Lansing’s Mental Illness Awareness Week on Thursday.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 40-percent of adults with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression received no treatment in the previous year. This comes at an enormous cost to the sufferers and their families, as well as to society at large, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Much of our nation’s mental health delivery system is based on treating mental illness as the debilitating symptoms such as psychosis arise. But Dr. William McFarlane has been a world-renown pioneer in early intervention. He's a professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical School and director for the Center for Psychiatric Research at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

Current State talks with McFarlane about his work, which has shown that identifying children and young adults who are at a high-risk of developing a severe mental illness before the symptoms arise is quite effective. He’ll be in town this Thursday to speak at the Hannah Community Center as part of National Alliance on Mental Illness Lansing’s Mental Illness Awareness Week.