National Mental Health Association
Sunday, May 19, 2002
New Program Will Support Recovery for People with Mental Illness Enhancing Doctor/Patient Communication Is Key ALEXANDIA, Va. (May 13, 2002) The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) is launching an educational program, Dialogue for Recovery, to improve communication between healthcare professionals and people with serious mental illness. "Communication between consumers of mental health services and their entire healthcare team is vital to finding a road to recovery that is effective and enhances quality of life," said Michael M. Faenza, NMHA president and CEO. "Millions of Americans have serious mental illnesses; recent medical advances and improved community support programs allow most to recover faster and lead fuller lives in their communities." Dialogue for Recovery features a new tool called the Antipsychotic Side-Effects Checklist (ASC), designed to facilitate communication about treatment successes and medication side-effects. "Unfortunately, side-effects caused by antipsychotic medications can be a major impetus for patients to discontinue their treatment, which ultimately hinders their recovery," said Faenza. In fact, 50 to 70 percent of patients with schizophrenia stop taking their medication at some point over the course of their illness, leading to recurrences of symptoms and relapses, which can have an enormous impact on the course of an illness and on the healthcare system. In 2000, $40 billion was spent on direct and indirect costs relating to schizophrenia. The Dialogue for Recovery program includes the ASC tool, a video, tips on how patient and physicians can improve their communication with each other, fact sheets and other educational pieces. The program will be distributed through NMHA's 340 Mental Health Association affiliates. The ASC tool was developed by a medical steering committee led by Peter Weiden, MD, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, NY and Alexander Miller, M.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX. Dialogue for Recovery and ASC are supported by unrestricted educational grants from AstraZeneca.