Whats News!

Announcements:

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The Catastrophic Effects of Mental Health Stigma: Transforming a broken system
Psychology Today, May 25, 2017
By Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

“Some people insist stigma around mental health is no longer an issue in our society, and mental illness no longer a taboo topic. Those having this mindset likely don’t live in a community where asking for help means potential ostracization, or come from a cultural background in which seeking psychological help is deemed as weakness, or have not had the unfortunate experience of being denied access to care due to subpar mental health benefits. In simple terms, to be of this mindset is to be privileged.” Click here to read the article.

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It’s Not Just Chris Cornell: Suicide Rates Highest Among Middle-Aged Men
NBC News, May 20, 2017
By Mary Emily O’Hara

The news that 52-year-old Seattle grunge rock icon Chris Cornell had killed himself after a concert in Detroit shocked and saddened fans of the Soundgarden frontman. Click here to read the article.

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A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past
New York Times, May 11, 2017
By Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

The stigma associated with mental illness can cause even a mental health suicidologist to resist treatment and keep it hidden. Dr. Freedenthal shares her personal journey to mental health. She is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, CO, and a Psychotherapist/Consultant in private practice.  Click here to read the article.

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The Doctor Is In: Tips for recognizing potential symptoms and preventing suicide
Collier Citizen, April 13, 2016
By Dr. Allen Weiss

This article highlights the stigma surrounding suicide. Dr. Weiss seeks to help family, friends and colleagues be more aware of potential warning signs that can lead to suicide and facilitate intervention. Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, FACP, FACR, is the president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System. Click here to read the article.

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U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High
New York Times, April 22, 2016
By Sabrina Tavernise

This article analyzes new research statistics on U.S. suicides and highlights factors that may be contributing to the overall surge in the last 30 years, including gender, socio-economic level and age. Click here to read the article.

Deena Baxter’s letter to the editor in response to this article was published online and in the print edition, April 27, 2016. Click here to read the letter.

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U.S. suicide rate has risen sharply in the 21st century
The Washington Post, April 22, 2016
By Dan Keating and Lenny Bernstein

This article analyzes new federal data on U.S. suicides and highlights factors that may be contributing to the overall surge since the turn of the century, including The Great Recession. Dan Keating analyzes data for projects, stories, graphics and interactives. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer at The Miami Herald for exposing vote fraud, and a team that was a Pulitzer finalist the year before for uncovering police fraud. Lenny Bernstein covers health and medicine. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.  Click here to read the article.

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Upcoming Presentations & Events:

Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and beyond – for The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project, in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a  mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Family Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA)
Mental Health Webinar
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Breaking Bad: Mending Broken Hearts after Suicide Loss
This is a closed event.
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Saturday, November 11, 2017 
Lunch speaker: Noon – 1:00pm
The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide
Hosted by The Kevin’s Song Foundation
The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth MI 48170
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Out To Lunch: Mending a broken heart and searching for “Normal” after suicide loss
Open to the public. Registration required. 
Click here for registration and conference information.  
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Presentation Gallery:

Scroll down – take a peak at some of our presentations and book signing events for The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project. 

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Friday, August 4, 2017
Plenary Presentation: 10:30 – Noon
Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Inc., Biennial Convention
Convention Theme: “Preserving our Future”
Naples Grande Beach Resort
475 Seagate Dr, Naples, FL 34103
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”
For members only. Registration required.

In deepest appreciation we thank Grand Regent Robert Mancini and the Kappa Psi convention committee for inviting Deena Baxter to speak on the topic of suicide loss and prevention. Her 90-minute plenary presentation to 635 Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Inc., members and their guests included an engaging Q&A. At the conclusion of her presentation, Robert Mancini presented Deena with a generous donation to NAMI of Collier County, FL, in honor of The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project. We are please to recognize Kappa Psi as a new Leadership Sponsor. Development Director Darla Pasteur accepted the check on behalf of NAMI of Collier County. Special thanks to Kathy Feinstein, MS, KAF Consulting & Counseling, for attending the session and providing professional insights during the Q&A. Kappa Psi photos courtesy of Cameron Van Dyke, Editor of the MASK, Kappa Psi’s official publication. Thanks are also in order for Editor Jay Schlichter and reporter Ashley Collins at the Collier Citizen for their extensive online, video and print coverage on Deena’s presentation, NAMI of Collier County, FL, and Kappa Psi.  Click here to view the coverage.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017
Conference Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Presentation Time: 11:00am
Survivors of Suicide (S.O.S.) Macomb County, MI, Annual Conference
Macomb Intermediate School District Building
44001 Garfield Rd., Clinton Township MI 48038
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: MENTAL MENDING – Searching for “Normal” After Suicide
Book signing with all proceeds flowing to S.O.S. Macomb County, MI
Open to the public. Registration required.

Dennis Liegghio, Founder of KnowResolve, invited Deena Baxter to present to this group of 50+ survivors of suicide loss. Several friends and colleagues attended, too.

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Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 12:30pm Luncheon Speaker
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Michigan
NAMI-Michigan Annual Conference
Detroit Marriot Livonia
17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI 48152 
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: OUT TO LUNCH – Searching for “Normal” After Suicide
Book signing with all proceeds flowing to NAMI-MI
Open to the public. Registration required.
NAMI-Michigan Executive Director Kevin Fischer and his wonderful and highly efficient staff welcomed Deena as the luncheon speaker. More than 100 people attended the conference. Deena met many dedicated mental health professionals and advocates doing wonderful work with limited state and federal funding.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00pm, Lunch Speaker
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Missouri
NAMI-Missouri Annual Conference
Holiday Inn Executive Center
2200 I-70 Drive S.W., Columbia, MO 65203
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: SURVIVING SUICIDE – Mending the Family Tree with Heartache, Art and Humor
Book signing with all proceeds flowing to NAMI-MO
Open to the public. Registration required.

Thanks to NAMI-Missouri Director of Public Policy & Suicide Prevention Scott Perkins, Director of Operations Sherry Fischer, and Provider Education Coordinator Kim Hoffman for welcoming Deena Baxter as keynote speaker. Deena was also invited to join Todd Williams, Christy Hutton and Ronda Reitz on the “Ask the Experts” Panel that concluded the conference.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017
Time: 6:15pm – 7:15pm
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Stephen Ministry Monthly Meeting
777 Mooring Line Dr, Naples, FL 34102
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: SURVIVING SUICIDE – Mending the Family Tree with Heartache, Art and Humor

 

Twenty-two Stephen Ministry pastoral lay ministers attended this presentation. We are grateful for their compassionate caregiving and interest in learning about suicide and suicide prevention.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017
Time: 10:30am – 11:45am
Naples United Church of Christ
Stephen Ministry New Ministers Training for NUCC and First Presbyterian Church
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Nelson Hall, 2nd floor, room 207

Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”

 

Fifteen Stephen Ministry pastoral lay minister-in-training attended this presentation. We are grateful for their commitment to pastoral care service and interest in learning about suicide and suicide prevention. Shortly after Deena’s two NUCC presentations, we received a generous donation to NAMI or Collier County, FL, in honor of The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project. We are please to recognize the NUCC Stephen Ministry Program as a Gift of Hope Donor.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
NUCC Stephen Ministry Continuing Education Training
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Presenter: Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”

 

Thirty-six Stephen Ministry pastoral lay ministers attended this presentation. We are grateful for their compassionate caregiving and interest in learning about suicide and suicide prevention.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016
Time: 10:30am – 1:30pm
FGCU/AFSP 2016 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Conference
Florida Gulf Coast University, Benn Hill Griffin Hall, Room 109
10501 FGCU Blvd. South, Ft. Myers, FL  33965
11:45am Presentation: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: SURVIVING SUICIDE – Mending the Family Tree with Heartache, Art and Humor

 

            A time for reflection, sharing and healing, this half-day conference was a join effort of Dr. Julie Rego, LMHC, CCTP, ACS,Suicide Awareness & Prevention Coordinator, Florida Gulf Coast University Counseling and Psychological Services and Jill Harrington, Florida Southeast & Florida Southwest Chapters Area Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The program included a presentation by Deena Baxter and screening of a new AFSP-produced documentary titled Life Journeys: Reclaiming Life after Loss. Giftbags were given to each attendee for the Healing Ceremony: colored strips of paper and a small glass jar with a crystal charm tag. Each person was encouraged to write “Messages in a Bottle” – personal messages to their loved one who died by suicide. Dr. Rego and her staff had a ready supply of tiny memory charms, colorful ribbons and additional paper. More than $200 in donations were made to the AFSP: each donor received a signed copy of SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartach and Humor by Deena Baxter. Thanks to FGCU staff members Kate and Dennis for their support.
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Saturday, April 9, 2016
8:00 – 9:00am: Breakfast Keynote Speaker
The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide
Hosted by The Kevin’s Song Foundation
The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth MI 48170
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: The Mourning Cure – One Ounce of Heartache with a Splash of Humor

The 3-day conference was hosted by the Kevin’s Song Foundation, co-founded by Gail and John Urso, in memory of their son Kevin. The goal of the inaugural conference was to provide a local forum for those who share an interest in the causes and means of prevention of suicide, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, clinicians, educators, public policy makers, clergy, first-responders, crisis center workers, students and veterans, as well as those who have lost a loved one to suicide or had their own suicidal experience, to meet. It was an opportunity to share information about suicide and the repercussions of suicide as well as how to identify and assess those at risk and learn about the means of prevention. Thursday evening was the premiere of the new film, Death is Not the Answer, produced and directed by documentary filmmaker, Keith Famie and co-produced by KnowResolve and Kevin’s Song. Saturday sessions focused on survivors, with an emphasis on grief-and-loss resources. Deena Baxter was invited to be the breakfast speaker on Saturday. It was an opportunity to shine a bright light on NAMI-Collier and NAMI-MI Executive Director Kevin Fischer. It was an honor to participate in this inaugural conference – an incredible undertaking by the Kevin’s Song Foundation.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016
Time: 10:00am-11:30am
Woman’s Cultural Alliance Speaker’s Series
Naples Daily News Community Room
1100 Immokalee Rd., Naples, FL 34110
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: Embracing Mental Mending – Searching for “Normal” After Sudden Loss

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Monday, April 11, 2016
P.E.O. Philanthropic Educational Organization
Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 777 Mooringline Drive, Naples
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: The Power of Art in My Search for “Normal”

Jan Gammons & Deena Baxter

P.E.O. President Jan Gammons greets Deena Baxter

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Naples Regional Library
650 Central Avenue, Naples, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: Driving Like Crazy on the Road to “Normal”
Book Signing

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Saturday, March 5, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Unity Church of Bonita Springs
28285 Imperial Pkwy, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: Mental Mending – Searching for “Normal” after Sudden Loss

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Monday, February 15, 2016
Noon – 1:30pm
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU)
Graduate Social Work Family Therapy Class
Hosted by: Adjunct Professor Ann Fisher
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: Surviving Suicide – Searching for “Normal” after Sudden Loss

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Sunday, February 7, 2016
9:00 – 10:00am
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples
6340 Napa Woods Way, Naples, FL 34116
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: Mental Wellness – Ways to Keep Our Local Community & Congregations Safer
Open to the General Public.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016
6:00 – 6:45pm: Social & Lite buffet dinner
6:45 – 7:45pm: Program
Community Wednesday Program
Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, FL
13411 Shire Lane, Ft. Myers, FL 33912
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Presentation: A Designated Driver – Driving Like Crazy in Search of “Normal”
Book Signing

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015
3:00 – 4:00pm
Project HELP! Crisis Center, 3123 Terrace Ave., Naples, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter and
Jacqueline Sly Metcalf, Director for Communications & Donor Relations, NAMI-CC
Program: Driving Like Crazy In Search of “Normal”
Book Signing

Deena Baxter Presents

Deena Baxter Presents

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015
1:00 – 1:30pm
GFWC Naples Woman’s Club, 570 Park Street, Naples, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter and
Jacqueline Sly Metcalf, Director for Communications & Donor Relations, NAMI-CC
Program: Out to Lunch: Searching for ‘Normal’.
Book Signing

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Thursday, June 11, 2015
12:30 – 1:00pm
Bonita Springs Rotary, Spanish Wells Country Club, Bonita Springs, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter and
Jacqueline Sly Metcalf, Director for Communications & Donor Relations, NAMI-CC
Title: Driving Like Crazy on the Road to “Normal”

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015
1:30 – 3:30 pm
The Shelter for Abused Women & Children
Presentation to Staff & Volunteers
Title: “Out To Lunch – Searching for ’Normal’”
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter and
Kristin Long, CLEAR Program Manager (Clearing the Way for Change in Florida), NAMI-CC

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
3:00 – 4:00pm
Imperial Golf Club Girlfriends Group & Guests, Naples, FL 34110
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter and
Jacqueline Sly, Director for Communications & Donor Relations, NAMI-CC
Title: Searching for “Normal” after Sudden Loss

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Saturday, March 21, 2015
8:30 – Noon
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Collier County, FL
13th Annual Hope Shines Walk
Cambier Park, Park Street, Naples, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter’s book available for purchase
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Saturday, March 21, 2015
2:00 – 4:00pm
Barnes & Noble, Waterside Shoppes
5377 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL 34108
Local Authors Event & Book Signing: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter

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Monday, March 2, 2015
2:00 – 3:30pm
Collier County Public Library Headquarters, Naples, FL
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter presentation and book signing
Title: Surviving Sudden Loss – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache & Humor

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February 2015:
Gulfshore Life Magazine
Gulfshore Life Magazine featured an excellent profile story about author Deena Baxter and The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in their February 2015 issue. The article, written by Executive Editor Cayla Stanley, also shined a light on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County.

Click here to view the article.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
6:30pm Social. 7-8pm Presentation
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter presentation and book signing
Title: My Odyssey – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache & Humor

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Monday, January 26, 2015
5:00 – 6:30pm
Marco Island Center for the Arts (MICA)
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter presentation and book signing
Title: The Power of Art in My Search for “Normal”

Gallery Photos for MICA Event Courtesy of Bernadette La Paglia.

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Emerging Mental Health & Brain Research:

“Redefining Mental Illness"

T. M. Luhrmann, professor of anthropology at Stanford University, presents British Psychological Society emerging views on psychosis and schizophrenia - mental illness or personality? - and antipsychotic medications. She contracts this with American psychiatry’s long-held position: viewing schizophrenia as a brain disorder that can be treated only with medication. But these opposing views may be evolving. Click here to read the NY Times article.

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“To Know Suicide"

Johns Hopkins School of of Medicine Professor Kay Redfield Jamison stresses the importance of professional competence in treating depression. Depression is a serious illness, but we can help people get back to living full lives. "Empathy is important, but competence is essential." So is an advanced directive. She adds credibility to the topic: she has been treated for long term, serious depression. Click here to read the NY Times article.

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“The Trouble with Brain Science”

New York University Professor Gary Marcus highlights the challenges of national and regional research commissions that are investing in brain research: “It’s not just that we lack answers, we don’t even agree on the questions.” Click here to read the NY Times article.

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“Free to Live in a Delusionary World"

Stephanie McCrummen presents the realities facing caregivers, families and "the system" when dealing with adults with severe mental illness. Click here to read THE WEEK excerpt.

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“What Science Says About Marijuana"

It's a timely, topical item, with more states moving forward with legislation to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana. In part 1 of this editorial series, Philip M. Boffey brings science into the discussion and highlights several areas of concern and opportunity: substance abuse and addiction, comparing the dangers, impact on young people, etc. Click here to read the NY Times editorial.

“Rules for the Marijuana Market"

In part 2, Vikas Bajaj focuses on the supply side: growers, sales, distribution and state regulation and economic policies of regulated medical and recreational marijuana. Included is a segment on marketing to minors and whether growers should be allowed to sell. Also highlighted is the risk of combining alcohol and marijuana: one 2009 study revealed that combining the two drugs "results in impairment even at doses which would be insignificant were they of either drug alone." Click here to read the NY Times editorial.

Note: The NY Times editorial board endorses legalization of marijuana; however, they do publish op ed and other articles opposing legalization. Patrick J. Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, is chairman of SAM - Smart Solutions to Marijuana - a consortium "championing smart policies that decrease marijuana use." He is an advocate of mental health research and services, changing national conversations about mental health, and educating and inspiring young people to champion a substance-free lifestyle. Click here to learn more.

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“A Dearth in Innovation for Key Drugs"

Eduardo Porter writes about the economic drivers that determine where pharmaceutical companies invest the limited drug development and research resources ($$ and human). Rare diseases ("orphans") get a disproportionate level of focus rather than those that drive health care costs like antibiotic-resistant infections, Alzheimer's and depression.  Click here to read the article.

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“Spark for a Stagnant Search"

Carl Zimmer and Benedict Carey write about a $650 Million Donation for Psychiatric Research. Click here to read the article.

“You’re talking to a guy who went from psychotic to normal with some pills,” said Jonathan Stanley, who was found to have bipolar disorder in the 1980s. The donation of a foundation started by his father is one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research.

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