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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Research Highlights from 2022

A digital recreation of a DNA strand.
Rare Genetic Variation in 10 Genes Substantially Raise the Risk for Schizophrenia

In one of the largest genetic studies of its kind researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health identified variations in 10 genes that significantly raise the risk for schizophrenia—information that could help identify new treatment targets.

Two diverse pairs of hands cupped under a lightbulb illuminating a digital space.
NIMH Turns Challenges into Opportunities

The recent NIMH Mental Health Services Research conference covered a range of topics, including mental health equity, policy, and funding.

A father and son sitting on a park bench.
Family-Based Intervention Lowers Long-Term Suicide Risk in Youth

In a recent study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers examined the impact of a family-based intervention on suicide risk in youth and found risk-reduction benefits up to 10 years later.

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.

Abstract image of program code being analyzed
Computational Methods Identify Psychosis Symptoms in Spoken Language

Researchers used computational methods to automatically detect abnormalities in spoken language that could be used to predict symptoms of psychotic disorders including schizophrenia.

Father sitting and talking to his toddler
Toddlers’ Responses to “Baby Talk” Linked to Social, Cognitive, Language Abilities

In an NIMH-supported study, researchers found that toddlers respond to emotionally expressive speech in different ways, and these varied responses are linked with their social, linguistic, and cognitive abilities.

Young child resting against a swing
Low Motivation for Social Bonding May Signal Behavior Problems in Early Childhood

In an NIMH-supported study, researchers found that low social affiliation—low motivation for social engagement and bonding—may be a precursor that identifies children as early as age 2 who are likely to develop callous-unemotional behaviors.

A teen (in background) pushes away a plate with broccoli on it (in foreground).
Adult “Picky Eaters” Recall Helpful Parent Feeding Strategies

Researchers asked a group of self-identified adult “picky eaters” to reflect on their parents’ feeding strategies to better understand which strategies were helpful and which weren’t.

Photograph of a man staring straight ahead with the sides of his face blurry and out of focus
Feelings of Detachment After Trauma May Signal Worse Mental Health Outcomes

A new NIMH-supported study shows that experiencing persistent feelings of detachment following trauma is an early psychological and biological marker of worse mental health outcomes.

Kids in classroom raising hands.
Study Furthers Understanding of Disparities in School Discipline

A new NIMH-supported analysis shows that disciplinary disparities occur as early as preschool and that their effects can negatively influence how well students do in later years.

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.

A mother and toddler with a health care provider
Multistage Autism Screening in Early Intervention Settings May Reduce Disparities

An NIMH-supported study shows that incorporating a multistage screening process for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) into federally funded early intervention services may reduce disparities in early ASD diagnosis.

A drawing of parapinopsin, a photoswitchable GPCR that can be turned on using UV light and turned off using amber light. Credit: Copits, B. et al., (2021). A photoswitchable GPCR-based opsin for presynaptic inhibition. Neuron, 109(11), 1791–1809.e11.
Tool Uses Light to Inhibit Neural Activity in Mice

Researchers supported by NIH have developed a way to genetically insert a type of light receptor into neurons. The new technique enables the researchers to suppress the neuron’s activity using pulses of light.

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.

3D rendering of a molecule
Autism and Congenital Heart Disease Share Underlying Molecular Network

A recent study of gene networks may hold some promising clues about shared mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder and congenital heart disease, two physiologically distinct disorders that often co-occur.

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.

A close-up view of an adult man’s face and eye
Machine Learning Study Sheds Light on Gaze Patterns in Adults With Autism

NIMH researchers examine what people with ASD and people without ASD look at when viewing a social scene.