Biopharmaceutical research and innovation is making strides in the world of mental health by expanding the understanding of the field and bringing about a new era of mental health medicine. No longer are mental health treatments being created just for patients, but they are being created with the help and guidance of patients.
At a recent event, New Cures, New Innovation for a New Era in Mental Health, researchers, innovators and patients came together to explore the bold direction of the future of biopharmaceutical research. Speakers included Ramona Sequeira, President – U.S. Business Unit, Takeda; Chamique Holdsclaw, mental health advocate and former WNBA player; Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety Policy at Facebook; and Kelly Roman, Co-Founder & CEO, Fisher Wallace Laboratories.
Takeda’s Ramona Sequeira focused on the importance of involving patients in the journey to uncover and develop the most effective mental health treatments. “Raising awareness about mental health and about the impact it has on patients and on society – especially since it doesn’t always get the same amount of noise as you think it should – given the impact that it has on people, is really important to me,” said Sequeira. She noted that opening the conversation around mental health has, and will, provide ample opportunities to engage patients in creating cures and opening the doors to new innovative treatments.
As an outspoken mental health advocate, Chamique Holdsclaw shared her own struggles with mental health and reflected on the power of transparency to change perceptions. As Holdsclaw shared her personal challenges, she reiterated the importance of engaging everyone in the mental health conversation and truly taking care of others. “I realized I had an opportunity to use my journey and story as a platform to affect young people,” she said. “I knew there were a lot of people just like me, and I just wanted to give them hope.”
Facebook’s Antigone Davis explained the steps the company has taken to work with mental health experts so that “now, in real-time, if someone is posting distressing content live, we have the ability to pop up resources for them.” Davis emphasized the growing role the digital industry can play in identifying mental health problems online and the possibility for continued coordination.
Collectively, participants noted that collaboration is key to innovation and advancement in the mental health space. “We learn not just from ourselves, but from each other,” said Sequeira. “I think that helps us innovate faster and better.”
To learn more about medicines in development for mental health, click here.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.
Topics: Mental Health