SEAVIEW - Breakthroughs in brain science bring hope for better treatment of serious mental illnesses, said Tom Insel, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, on the first day of the 2006 NAMI Conference held in Washington D.C. Insel and other national experts are speaking to more than 2,500 people attending the 27th annual conference of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Other speakers at the convention underlined the urgency of networking and research funding at the national level. More dollars are lost in productivity as a result of untreated mental illnesses than in either heart disease or cancer.

Suicides nationally are twice the number of homicides, and a growing number of suicides are from people age 14 to 25. Most people treated for mental health problems get better and stay better, but media reports rarely highlight that fact.

Barbara Bate, vice president of NAMI Pacific County and president of the executive board of Willapa Counseling Center, attended the conference on behalf of the local affiliate. Her report on the national NAMI event will be the highlighted program for NAMI Pacific County's July meeting on Thursday, July 6, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Peninsula Church Center, 5000 N St in Seaview. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, which will be followed by an open mental health support group at 6 p.m.

Bate follows NAMI Pacific County president Lorraine Brown, who attended the 2004 convention. Both leaders have noted the explosion of new information and energy at these conferences, where family members, mental health advocates, and people in recovery pool their experience on behalf of saving lives.

For information, contact Barbara Bate at 665-4421, Lorraine or Craig Brown, 642-3892, ccdclb@hotmail.com or Mary Bowers, 665-3070, mfb@centurytel.net

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