As Mental Health America releases its 2018 ranking of states’ mental health, there is good news for the nearly one in five Tennesseans suffering from some form of mental illness. Although Tennessee ranks 41st, a new report has just been released with details on over 140 medicines currently under development to treat mental illness.

Of the potential new treatments included in the report, 40 address Tennessee’s biggest mental health and public health issue: substance abuse disorders, including opioid addiction. Another 39 potential treatments address depression, which has unfortunate ties to opioid abuse.

Treatments summarized in the report include:

  • A long-acting formulation of buprenorphine that could improve adherence rates for people addicted to opioids, which is a key step in the recovery process.
  • A once-daily oral medicine designed to rebalance brain function in patients with a major depressive disorder.
  • An intranasal medicine with a “rapid therapeutic effect” for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Antidepressants can often take four to six weeks to work, leaving patients to wonder whether the treatment is producing results. However, the fast-acting nature of this potential treatment could help patients better determine whether or not the treatment is working.

Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee wants to remind Tennesseans that identifying and seeking help for mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders in their early stages, Before Stage Four, (#B4Stage4), is key to improving outcomes for these conditions; but we also must remember that treating mental illness is about balance. Non-medical options like exercise, an active social life, and support from peers are also proven, evidence-based strategies to help Tennesseans with mental illnesses and substance use disorders to live full, productive and healthy lives. Medication is one component of a comprehensive treatment and recovery plan, and there are other medical interventions to consider.

Innovation is good news for Tennesseans, and you can support innovation in our state … even if you don’t wear a lab coat to work every day. Call, email or write your state legislators. Let them know that you support innovation and research in Tennessee. You never know who it might help.

Click here to download the Medicines in Development for Mental Illnesses 2017 Report.

Click here to download the 2018 Ranking the States in Mental Health list from MHA.

Click here to download 10 evidence-based online screenings for mental health.

Click here to find your state legislators.