KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — Oct. 3, 2016 — As Mental Illness Awareness Week begins, a new poll finds Americans have divergent views about illnesses that affect thinking, feeling or mood; this discrepancy is notable when it comes to genetic testing recommended by a doctor to help with personalized treatment.
Thirty-four percent of Americans report having been diagnosed with a mental illness or have a friend or family member who has been. A mere 7 percent think the country does a good job at dealing with mental illness, while 45 percent feel we do a poor job, a percentage that is more than twice as high as the responses for how the U.S. deals with cancer, heart disease and diabetes, according to the Genomind Mental Health Poll™. Genomind is a personalized medicine company bringing innovation to mental health care.
Recently, celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen have been more open about their own struggles with depression. Nearly half of poll respondents see such revelations as a positive trend and agree it would be great to see more disclosures, while 17 percent say this is a private matter and these public figures should keep this information to themselves.
Almost half of the poll respondents say the country should be spending more than it does on mental health (currently the U.S. spends roughly 4 percent on mental health of the nearly $2 trillion it spends on health care each year), while just 25 percent feel the current balance is about right.
However, 28 percent of Americans agree that “except in extreme circumstances, issues like depression and anxiety should be solved on a personal level and not with medication.”
Also pointing to the split opinions Americans hold on mental health issues, 67 percent are very or somewhat excited about using genetic tests to individualize patients’ treatments for a wide variety of illnesses to make treatments more effective. However, when asked specifically if they would take a genetic test recommended by a doctor that would help determine the best treatment plan for mental illness, respondents are less likely to choose to take such a test than they are to take a test to guide treatment for cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
A majority (53 percent) did agree the following was a strong statement to support genetic tests for mental illness treatment: They help reduce the time, expense and struggle of finding the right treatment by trial and error.
“I think what we are seeing when we dig deeper is that mental health issues still seem to carry a stigma for many Americans, despite all the public education that has been done and what we know today about their diagnosis and treatment. This stigma evidences itself in the way that Americans seem to view mental illness differently than other chronic diseases,” says Stefan Hankin of Lincoln Park Strategies, who conducted the poll for Genomind.
“I’ve felt the stigma of mental health in my life,” says Patrick J. Kennedy, a noted mental health advocate, Genomind adviser and former Congressman. “The poll results clearly show that some Americans still view treatment for mental health differently than they do for other diseases. We would never tell a breast cancer patient to just ‘deal with it.’ During this important week I hope we can make progress on advancing understanding and acceptance of effective treatment and genetic testing to help guide treatment for mental health.”
The Genomind Mental Health Poll consisted of a representative sample of 1,000 interviews that were conducted online Sept. 21–25, 2016. The Bayesian confidence interval for 1,000 interviews is 3.5, which is roughly equivalent to a margin of error of ±3.1 at the 95 percent confidence level.
“We conducted this poll because we think it’s important to understand where the country stands on these vital issues; the results will hopefully lead to greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the mental health sector,” says Michael Koffler, Genomind president and CEO.
Genomind’s Genecept Assay is a genetic test designed to help clinicians optimize treatment decisions for their patients with mental illness. Clinical research has found 87 percent of patients demonstrated a clinically measurable improvement with treatment guided by the Genecept Assay. It also reported improvement in 91 percent of patients who had previously failed at least two medications.
The Genecept Assay is available for use by any licensed and prescribing clinician. Patients should discuss with their clinician whether the Genecept Assay is right for them. Patients should have their clinician contact Genomind directly to order test kits and/or to receive more information about testing.
Genomind is a personalized medicine company bringing innovation to mental health care through genetic testing. Genomind is comprised of pioneering researchers and thought leaders in psychiatry and neurology and specializes in pharmacogenetic laboratory testing for psychiatry. Genomind is committed to partnering with clinicians to improve their patients’ lives. Learn more at www.genomind.com.