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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Progress for Goal 3

Learn about the progress NIMH has made toward Goal 3 of the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research: Strive for Prevention and Cures.


A central circle with multiple colored patches inside. The colored patches represent a visualization of the mouse MOp transcriptomic taxonomy. Surrounding the central circle are pictures of various types of neurons in colors that coordinate with the patches used in the central circle (pinks on left and greens and blues on the right). Interspersed with the images of the neurons are spike graphs showing neuron electrophysiological profiles. (Credit: Tolias/Nature)
NIH BRAIN Initiative Unveils Detailed Atlas of the Mammalian Primary Motor Cortex

The NIH Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) has unveiled an atlas of cell types and an anatomical neuronal wiring diagram for the mammalian primary motor cortex, derived from detailed studies of mice, monkeys, and humans.

Silhouette of team raising their hands over their heads
A New Strength-Focused Framework to Prevent American Indian and Alaska Native Youth Suicide

Researchers have developed a promising new framework for suicide prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The research framework expands on conventional risk reduction strategies by placing Indigenous culture, knowledge, beliefs, and community collaboration at the center of the approach.

 A high-powered black and white microscope image showing exosomes, nanosized parts of cells. (Credit: Surya Shrivastava / City of Hope
Researchers Use Exosome-Based Strategy to Block HIV in Mice

In this NIMH-funded study, researchers used exosomes to deliver novel protein into the cells of mice infected with HIV. The protein attached to HIV’s genetic material and prevented it from replicating, resulting in reduced levels of HIV in the bone marrow, spleen, and brain.

a woman holds a baby
Partner Violence and Elevated HIV Viral Load in South African Women

New analysis shows suggests an association between intimate partner violence and elevated viral loads among postpartum women in South Africa.

Photo of the arms and hands of a female therapist holding the hands of a young woman.
Improved Emotion Regulation in Dialectical Behavior Therapy Reduces Suicide Risk in Youth

An analysis of clinical trial data shows that improvements in emotion regulation in youth at high risk for suicide who received dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) led to a reduction in self-harm behaviors.

Photo of a pair of woman’s hands holding another woman’s hand on a table.
Assessing Suicide Risk Among Childbearing Women in the U.S. Before and After Giving Birth

NIMH-supported researchers investigated suicide risk among women in the year before and year after giving birth.

hospital exterior sign that reads "Emergency"
Investigating Unintentional Injury as a Risk Factor for Self-Harm

In a recent study, NIMH-supported researchers found that certain types of unintentional injury have stronger associations with self-harm than others in adolescents.

mom holding baby, talking to doctor
Media Advisory: Prototype App for Mobile Devices Could Screen Children at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

A mobile app was successful at distinguishing toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from typically developing toddlers based on their eye movements while watching videos, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH Addresses Critical Need for Rapid-Acting Interventions for Severe Suicide Risk

NIMH is working to meet the urgent need for rapid-acting suicide prevention interventions by supporting research investigating the feasibility and safety of treatment protocols that have the potential to quickly reduce severe suicide risk in youth and adults.

Teen girl looking off into the distance
Adaptive Screener May Help Identify Youth at Risk of Suicide

In a study supported by NIMH, researchers have developed a computerized adaptive screener that can help identify youth at risk for attempting suicide.

Using Mobile Technology to Improve Care for Teens with Depression
Using Mobile Technology to Improve Care for Teens with Depression

In a project funded by the NIMH Small Business Technology Transfer program, researchers are investigating whether mobile technology can be used to create a passive monitoring system that can predict teens’ depressive symptoms and improve the quality of their care.

a young boy stacks wooden alphabet blocks
Testing and Refining Biomarkers to Support Intervention Research for Children with Autism

NIMH, along with other NIH Institutes, is supporting the ABC-CT project, a multisite study that aims to test and refine biomarkers that can be used as objective measures of social impairment for children with autism in clinical trials, leading to more predictive and personalized treatment.

A female mental health specialist talks with a young woman, holding her hands.
Brief Suicide Prevention Interventions in Acute Care Settings May Reduce Subsequent Suicide Attempts

A research project supported by NIMH analyzed multiple studies to determine the effectiveness of brief suicide prevention interventions in acute care settings.

A student carries books and a phone on a college campus.
Differences in Suicide Risk Among Subgroups of Sexual and Gender Minority College Students

In an NIMH-supported study, researchers found that college students identifying as a sexual or gender minority had higher rates of suicidal risk factors than cisgender and heterosexual peers, and that there were significant differences in risk among sexual minority subgroups.

Infant and female caregiver holding tablet and speaking with doctor.
Supporting the Development of Early Autism Screening Tools

NIMH, along with other NIH Institutes, is supporting the goal of identifying autism in the first year of life by funding projects that seek to seek to translate findings related to early-emerging signs of autism into practical ASD screening tools that can be implemented in the general population and community settings.

Transforming Mental Health Care Through ALACRITY
Transforming Mental Health Care Through ALACRITY

In 2018, 11.4 million adults in the United States experienced a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, severe bipolar disorder, and severe depression.

Combined Electroconvulsive Therapy and Venlafaxine a Well-Tolerated Depression Treatment for Older Adults
Combined Electroconvulsive Therapy and Venlafaxine a Well-Tolerated Depression Treatment for Older Adults

The use of right unilateral ultrabrief pulse (RUL-UB) electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in combination with the antidepressant venlafaxine to treat depression in elderly patients is well tolerated and results in minimal neurocognitive side effects, according to a new NIH-funded study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Identifying Practices for Reducing Incarceration of Those with Mental Illnesses—A Study of “Stepping Up”
Identifying Practices for Reducing Incarceration of Those with Mental Illnesses—A Study of “Stepping Up”

According to a 2017 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately two-thirds of female inmates in prisons and jails and around a third of men in prisons and jails report having been diagnosed as having mental health disorder by a mental health professional.