One of the biggest challenges mental health patients face is the stigma around mental illness and substance abuse, and Carla says this hinders patients from oftentimes seeking necessary treatment. The solution, she says, is to destigmatize mental illness. This can be achieved through the better understanding of the underlying biology of these brain diseases, and the development of more effective treatments.
“We are facing an epidemic,” she says. “If we don’t advance, we become a workforce that isn’t competitive. Suicide rates are rising. Our society is knowledge-based and is becoming more stressful – and the global burden is becoming larger. Mental illness takes an incredible personal toll, not only through the suffering experienced by the patients themselves, but also by their close friends and family. Ultimately, there are many social and economic consequences of not advancing the field of neuroscience and mental health research.”
Still, Carla remains positive about the future of neuroscience because she works with people who are collaborative and who understand the need to do more in this space for patients. “There’s a lot of collaboration happening across stakeholders and even across companies to help bring better medicines to more patients sooner,” she says.