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Mental Health Services Research Committee (SERV)

Consistent with the NIMH Strategic Plan and its stated focus on the services research areas with greatest promise for addressing critical needs of those with mental disorders, the Mental Health Services Research Committee (SERV) will review applications focused on research topics in mental health services, including delivery and financing of services; accessibility, use, quality, cost, and outcomes of services; the impact of health and insurance policy changes; and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based and promising new preventive, treatment, and services interventions. It will also review applications that focus on improving scientific methods to be applied in mental health services research and methods for improving the design and analytic techniques for testing and delivery of new preventive, treatment and services interventions. Major areas of focus will include improved understanding of the factors that contribute to optimal service availability, practice, and sustainability in a variety of care settings and in diverse communities; contextual factors that contribute to more personalized and effective mental health services; and processes for efficient and ongoing assessment, monitoring, and improvement. Research may focus on organizations, systems, or communities and may examine engagement in and adherence to mental health treatment and services. Research may involve a range of techniques, including primary clinical research, qualitative and observational techniques, and/or secondary data analyses. Applications specific to mental health policy development and outcomes will also be reviewed in SERV.

Specific Areas Covered by SERV:

  • Delivery and effectiveness of mental health services;
  • Multiple criteria evaluation of effectiveness of treatment and services;
  • Evaluation of rehabilitation and related services for individuals with multiple alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health disorders;
  • Financing, delivery, and use of pharmacological agents in the treatment of mental illness;
  • Organization, financing, and cost-effectiveness of mental health and related services;
  • Services needs of particular populations;
  • Help-seeking behavior;
  • Evaluation of innovative service delivery models;
  • Defining and describing the care received and establishing and testing standards for quality of care;
  • Methodological and statistical challenges inherent in conducting mental health services research in community settings;
  • Evaluation of dissemination methods on improving mental health services;
  • The effect of social and cultural contexts on the delivery of, acceptance of, and/or barriers to care and on the acceptance of mental illness and persons with mental illness and treatment of such persons in care delivery settings.

SERV has the following shared interests within the NIMH IRG:

  • With Interventions Committee for Adult Disorders (ITVA): ITVA reviews applications concerned with clinical trials and treatments as applied to mental health disorders and outcomes at the level of the individual subject, while SERV reviews applications focused on the impact of service delivery, evaluation of service delivery models, and the functioning of service systems.
  • With Interventions Committee for Disorders Involving Children and Their Families (ITVC): ITVC reviews applications concerned with clinical trials and treatments as applied to a broad range of mental health disorders in children, while SERV reviews applications focused on the impact of service delivery, evaluation of service delivery models, and the functioning of service systems.