University of Colorado Denver Depression Center working to help Establish a Network of Health-Advancing National Centers of Excellence for Depression (ENHANCED) Act

AURORA, Colo – In the US nearly 21 million suffer from depression (14.8 million), bipolar illness (5.7 million) or other mood disorders each year, with the estimated economic burden of $83.1 billion each year. In the state of Colorado alone, approximately 340,000 citizens are affected, at a cost of over $1.3 billion annually.

The University of Colorado Denver Depression Center, a member center of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), announced that on October 23, 2009, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), John F. Kerry (D-MA), and George Voinovich (R-OH), introduced the bi-partisan Establishing a Network of Health-Advancing National Centers of Excellence for Depression (ENHANCED) Act to establish national centers of excellence for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorders.

The University of Colorado Denver Depression Center is working with 15 other eminent academic medical centers including those at the University of Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Cornell, and Columbia to come together to engage in translational research, standardize diagnoses, treat earlier and more effectively, and prevent recurrences of depression and bipolar disorders, as well as to eradicate the stigma associated with these disorders. They applaud the introduction of the ENHANCED Act, that seeks to establish the first federally funded national network of health centers specializing in treatment for depression, bipolar illness and associated mood disorders.

Rabindar Subbian, MSW, MBA, president and CEO of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) visited the Depression Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to talk about the ENHANCED Act. “Millions of Americans suffer from depression, bipolar or other mood disorders, and as many as one-third of those suffering do not receive treatment,” says Subbian. “The introduction of the ENHANCED Act, and the commitment of these senators to advancing depression research and treatment is a monumental step toward conquering this debilitating and wide-spread illness.”

The University of Colorado Denver Depression Center opened in September 2008 through the generous support of George Wiegers of Vail, Colo. Leading clinicians and researchers bring their expertise to this multidisciplinary center which is working to improve the lives of people with depression and other mood disorders through clinical excellence, innovative research, community outreach, and education. The Colorado Depression Center is particularly interested in suicide prevention because Colorado is among the highest in the country for suicides and the rate has been rising steadily over the last decade.

The need for better care is clear:

    • 20 percent of the millions of adults who received mental health treatment last year reported unmet needs after treatment by professional medical staff.
    • One-third of those suffering from mood disorders do not receive treatment.
    • As often as 50 percent of the time, an initial diagnosis of depression is missed.
    • Depression affects one of every five US residents over the course of their lifetime.
    • It is the leading cause of disability among Americans between 15 and 44 years of age.
    • The annual cost of productivity lost due to the absence of a worker is $8.27 billion for employees suffering from depression or mood disorders.

    Leaders in depression care see the ENHANCED Act of 2009 as an essential step in fighting these pervasive illnesses. The time is now to invest 1/10th of one percent of what depression costs US society into establishing a national resource in the form of a network of “centers of excellence” that the ENHANCED Act calls for.

    Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the CU Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the CU Denver newsroom online.

    Contact: [email protected]; 303-724-1525

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