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Father of Schizophrenia Victim asks: “Our house is on fire,and you are talking about the chemistry of the pain?”

Posted 02-22-2022 at 08:20 PM by jbgusa


Father of Schizophrenia Victim asks: “Our house is on fire,and you are talking about the chemistry of the pain?”


Today's New York Times featured an article (link, excerpts below) about Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the National Institute of Mental Health. He presided of the sharp shift in focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. In an interview for the article, he conceded that little of this has helped patients.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times
A new book by Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the United States’ foremost mental health research institution, begins with a sort of confession.During his tenure as the “nation’s psychiatrist,” he helped allocate $20 billion in federal funds and sharply shifted the focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics.

************

In the book, he describes an “epiphany” during his last year at N.I.M.H., after he had delivered a PowerPoint presentation to a group of advocates, touting researchers’ progress on genetic markers.A man in a flannel shirt got to his feet and reeled off the story of his 23-year-old son, who has schizophrenia — a cycle of hospitalizations, suicide attempts and homelessness. “Our house is on fire,” the man said, “and you are talking about the chemistry of the paint. What are you doing to put out this fire?”

“In that moment, I knew he was right,” Dr. Insel writes. “Nothing my colleagues and I were doing addressed the ever-increasing urgency or magnitude of the suffering millions of Americans were living through — and dying from.”
In fall 1975 I took Psych 101 from Professor James Maas at Cornell. We were given many lectures about "scientific research" in psychology. In the nature of full disclosure I did not do well in the course. But I distinctly remember feeling that little or nothing that we learned remotely concerned helping any person in any way.

I feel that way now, so this article/interview did not surprise me. Is anyone surprised?
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