Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka), an industry leader in mental health, hosted its 4th annual Advancing Mental Health Policy Forum on Monday, May 9, 2022 at Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. The forum brought together federal and state policymakers as well as key advocacy partners and other experts from the mental health community who are passionate about transforming the way mental illness is treated. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, actress and mental health advocate Michelle Williams, member of Destiny’s Child, served as keynote speaker and shared her personal experience living with depression.
“Living with a mental illness is something no one should have to go through alone,” said Williams. “For years I pushed my depression aside, until one day I acknowledged I needed support and it changed my life. I’m proud to be a part of Otsuka’s Advancing Mental Health Policy Forum and help shed light on the importance of having access to mental health treatment.”
Nearly 25 percent of adults living with the challenges of mental illness report an unmet need for treatment, and this number has not changed in over a decade. During the forum two panels of experts addressed the systemic issues preventing adequate treatment of mental illness, as well as the critical need to improve equity and access to mental health care in parallel to physical health.
“It’s imperative that as a society we recognize mental illness as a chronic disease that warrants early, equitable and accessible intervention,” said Kabir Nath, Senior Managing Director, Global Pharmaceutical Business, Otsuka. “At Otsuka, we will not rest until mental health is approached with the same priority and urgency as physical health.”
Representatives from organizations including the National Council for Mental Health Wellbeing, Mental Health Association in New York State, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, National Alliance on Mental Health – Georgia, and Howard University were in attendance. In addition, Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Schlossberg and Casey Badmington, senior policy advisor to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, participated.
Otsuka also recognized three policymakers with its BetterTogether Award. Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri) and Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) were acknowledged for their bipartisan commitment and leadership in advancing legislation in support of people living with serious mental illness.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.
In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.
Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies’ 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology, and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs.
OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 47,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 13.3 billion in 2020.
All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less traveled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at www.otsuka-us.com and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.’s global website is accessible at www.otsuka.co.jp/en/.
 The State of Mental Health in America | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)