Psychosocial Research Can Help the National Institute of Mental Health Reduce the Burden of Mental Illnesses and Psychological Disorders

Article: How psychosocial research can help the National Institute of Mental Health achieve its grand challenge to reduce the burden of mental illnesses and psychological disorders.

Citation

Teachman, B. A., McKay, D., Barch, D. M., Prinstein, M. J., Hollon, S. D., & Chambless, D. L. (2019). How psychosocial research can help the National Institute of Mental Health achieve its grand challenge to reduce the burden of mental illnesses and psychological disorders. American Psychologist, 74(4), 415-431. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000361

This article was published in American Psychologist, and is available in the PsycARTICLES database.

Abstract

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) plays an enormous role in establishing the agenda for mental health research across the country (its 2016 appropriation was nearly $1.5 billion; NIMH, 2016a). As the primary funder of research that will lead to development of new assessments and interventions to identify and combat mental illness, the priorities set by NIMH have a major impact on the mental health of our nation and training of the next generation of clinical scientists. Joshua Gordon has recently begun his term as the new Director of NIMH and has been meeting with different organizations to understand how they can contribute to the grand challenge of reducing the burden of mental illness. As a group of clinical psychological scientists (most representing the Coalition for the Advancement and Application of Psychological Science), he asked what we saw as key gaps in our understanding of the burden of mental illnesses and psychological disorders that psychosocial research could help fill. In response, we first present data illustrating how funding trends have shifted toward biomedical research over the past 18 years and then consider the objectives NIMH has defined in its recent strategic plan (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, & National Institute of Mental Health, 2015). We then note ways that advances in psychosocial research can help achieve these objectives. Critically, this involves integrating psychosocial and biomedical approaches to efficiently relieve the suffering of millions of Americans who struggle with mental illnesses and psychological disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)