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and treatment of mental illnesses.

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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.


Father and daughter arguing over homework. Daughter looks pouty and disgruntled.
Novel Treatment Helps Children With Severe Irritability

A new study by NIMH researchers demonstrated the effectiveness, feasibility, and safety of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy for severe irritability and temper outbursts in children. The positive results set the foundation to continue exploring exposure therapy as a potential treatment for childhood irritability.

Outline of a head filled with blue and green watercolor paint.
Intervention Reduces Likelihood of Developing Postpartum Anxiety and Depression by More Than 70%

Results from a large clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health show that an intervention for anxiety provided to pregnant women living in Pakistan significantly reduced the likelihood of the women developing moderate-to-severe anxiety, depression, or both six weeks after birth.

Photo from the back of a child holding tightly to and leaning on a parent's arm.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Alters Brain Activity in Children With Anxiety

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health found that unmedicated children with anxiety disorders show widespread overactivation in brain functioning and that treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy led to a clinically significant drop in anxiety symptoms and improved brain functioning.

Photo of a pair of woman’s hands holding another woman’s hand on a table.
Saving Lives Through the Science of Suicide Prevention

Evidence-based efforts to improve suicide risk screening, assessment, and intervention are helping to save lives, thanks to research supported by NIMH.

Diverse group of doctors and nurses looking together at a tablet in a doctor's hand.
Emergency Department Intervention Reduces Adult Suicide Risk

Evidence-based practices for suicide prevention effectively reduced suicidal behaviors among adults seen for care in emergency departments.

Scrabble pieces spelling out "Ketamine."
Cracking the Ketamine Code

NIMH supported science and NIMH researchers helped pave the way for the development of ketamine—a groundbreaking treatment that has improved the lives of those who are impacted by treatment-resistant depression.

Woman holding a burning cigarette.
Helping People With Serious Mental Illness Quit Smoking

In a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and published in JAMA Psychiatry, Gail Daumit, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, A. Eden Evins, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues developed a tobacco smoking cessation intervention for people with serious mental illness.

Professional looking young woman standing in a conference room while smiling and holding a tablet, with a group of people working in the background.
RAISE-ing the Standard of Care for Schizophrenia: The Rapid Adoption of Coordinated Specialty Care in the United States

The Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode research initiative, launched by NIMH to test the effectiveness of coordinated specialty care to treat first-episode psychosis, has transformed the mental health landscape in the United States and helped thousands of people with schizophrenia achieve better outcomes.

Swarm of human immunodeficiency virus.
Blocking HIV Enzyme Reduces Infectivity and Slows Viral Rebound

In this NIMH-funded study, researchers developed a compound that blocked an enzyme critical for forming HIV particles, which stopped the virus from correctly forming and becoming infectious.

Hands resting on the front of a laptop computer keyboard.
Chatbot Encourages People With Eating Disorders to Seek Care

In a new NIMH-funded study, Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, and colleagues developed a chatbot to encourage people with eating disorders to connect with care.

Arrow breaking through wall-like barrier.
Breaking Down Barriers to HIV Medication Access

Researchers investigated whether home delivery of ART for a modest fee could help improve ART access and use, finding it resulted in increased viral suppression in participants compared with clinic-based medication distribution.

Illustration of silhouettes against a cityscape background
Long-acting antiretroviral therapy suppresses HIV among people with unstable housing, mental illnesses, substance use disorder

A long-acting antiretroviral treatment given every four to eight weeks, and delivered with comprehensive support services, suppressed HIV in people who were previously not virologically suppressed.

A health care provider talking with a patient
Brief Cognitive Training May Extend the Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine

An NIMH-supported study suggests that a brief self-association training program can extend the effects of a single ketamine infusion by shifting people’s negative self-beliefs.

Open pill bottle with blue PrEP pills spilling out
Barriers and Supports to HIV Prevention Among Young Women in Kenya

In a qualitative study supported by NIMH, researchers identified barriers and supports to Kenyan women’s use of PrEP, a highly effective medication to reduce HIV transmission.

Close up of a female doctor’s hands filling out a screening form while speaking with a patient
A Clinical Pathway for Suicide Risk Screening in Adult Primary Care

An NIMH-supported workgroup developed an evidence-based screening pathway to help primary care doctors identify adults at risk of suicide and bridge them to critical mental health services.

A mental health provider talks with a veteran.
Study Shows REACH VET Program Effective for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide

A recent NIMH co-authored study shows that a Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention program was associated with fewer inpatient mental health admissions and emergency department visits, and a 5 percent reduction in documented suicide attempts.

Hands typing at a computer
Mindful Mood Balance Effective for Treating Residual Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation

NIMH-supported researchers have found an online mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy—called Mindful Mood Balance—is effective at reducing residual depressive symptoms and at reducing suicidal ideation in those who experience these symptoms.

Illustrated human head with red spot in the center
New Approach Allows Magnetic Brain Stimulation to Target Deep Brain Structures

TMS can only directly stimulate the outermost layer of the brain, but NIMH researchers have found that mapping a person’s brain architecture may make it possible to guide TMS to deep brain targets.

Enhanced photo of researchers standing and wearing virtual reality headsets to plan DBS implantation.
Personalizing Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression

A recent NIMH-supported study investigated whether deep brain stimulation could be personalized for individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

Silhouettes of youth heads in various colors.
Understanding the Characteristics of Suicide in Young Children

Researchers supported by NIMH recently published a study describing the characteristics of suicide in young children and the factors that sometimes precede these tragic events, providing an avenue for future research and intervention.

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 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.