Mental Illness Across the Ages

Published: September 30, 2015

Mental illness is a brain disorder that often results in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Unlike most disabling physical illnesses, mental illness begins very early in life, with half of all lifetime cases beginning by age 14. It is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 4 families in America, with an estimated 23% of American adults 18 and older and 20% of American children suffering from a mental disorder during a given year. Advances in neuroscience and related fields have produced evidence-based treatment options, but there remain serious gaps in access by those most in need across all age cohorts. The accumulated burden and hazards of untreated mental illness is a critical public health issue for all Americans. This event, in Washington, DC, focused on what we know about the causes, effects and treatments of mental illness, from young children, to adolescents, to middle-age and elderly patients.  Speakers: Mark S. Frankel, Ph.D., Director, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program; Nelson B. Freimer, M.D., Director, UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics; Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center; Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., MPP, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Neuroscience and Society series is a partnership between The Dana Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.