Depression Center works to establish national network

By Staff

Nearly 21 million Americans suffer from depression, bipolar illness or other mood disorders each year, with an estimated economic burden of $83.1 billion each year. In Colorado, about 340,000 residents 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 Oct. 23, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas), John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Establishing a Network of Health-Advancing National Centers of Excellence for Depression (ENHANCED) Act, to create national centers of excellence for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorders.

The UC Denver Depression Center is working with 15 other academic medical centers including those at the University of Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Cornell and Columbia 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. If passed, the ENHANCED Act would establish the first federally funded, national network of health centers specializing in treatment for depression, bipolar illness and associated mood disorders.

Rabindar Subbian, president and CEO of the National Network of Depression Centers, recently visited the Depression Center at the 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," Subbian said.  "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 widespread illness."

The University of Colorado Denver Depression Center opened in September 2008 through the generous support of George Wiegers of Vail. Leading clinicians and researchers bring their expertise to the multidisciplinary center, which works 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's suicide rate is among the highest in the country and has been rising steadily over the last decade.