We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

NIMH and Mental Healthcare Funding

The ethics of responsible conduct in research has been a long-term issue. In January 2002 the Association of American Medical Colleges approved a report by its task force stating: “Financial conflicts of interest of clinical investigators… [is] the single issue that poses the greatest threat to maintaining public trust in biomedical research.”1

The pharmaceutical industry spends over $15 billion to buy the loyalty of healthcare providers and allied professionals: educators, investigators, and nonprofit organizations.2 Here are just a few examples of corporate funding for some nonprofit mental healthcare organizations.3

  • Alzheimer’s Association
    • Pfizer, Inc.
    • Janssen Pharmaceutica
    • Eli Lilly & Company
    • Schering-Plough Corporation
  • International Society for Bipolar Disorders
    • Eli Lily & Company
    • AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
    • GlaxoSmithKline
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
    • Eli Lilly & Company
    • AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
    • GlaxoSmithKline
    • Janssen Pharmaceutica
    • Pfizer
    • Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

And yet, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the Federal government’s principal behavioral research agency, is not funding research in the area of Dissociative Identity Disorder, one of the most severe mental disorders for survivors of child abuse and affects as many as 5-20 percent of people in psychiatric hospitals.4

As Dr. Jennifer Freyd, Science Chair for the American Psychological Association stated in her letter to the strategic planning group at NIMH on December 10, 20075: “Although there is mention of cultural/sociodemographic factors, exposure to toxic substances in utero, and stress, [in NIMH’s 5-year plan], acknowledgement of the substantial impact of particularly disaster, interpersonal, and occupational trauma on psychopathology is entirely missing.” [Author’s italics]

I was one of the fortunate few who could afford private hospital care in a unit specially designed to treat dissociative disorders. Sadly, these centers are closing because of funding constraints. Public awareness and investigations as to the reluctance to perform research, particularly in the area of dissociative disorders needs to be addressed by Congress as they fund NIMH.


1 “Conflicts of Interest,” Alliance for Human Research Protection, May 5-7, 2002

2 Ibid.

3 “Non-Profit Organizations Receiving Corporate Funding,” Integrity in Science

4 “What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?” Sidran 2007

5 http://pages.uoregon.edu/dynamic/jjf/essays/div56nimh.pdf

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