Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Priority Research Areas

Priority Research Areas

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has identified priority areas for research and funding that have the potential to improve mental health care over the short, medium, and long term.

To support these priority areas, teams of NIMH staff and researchers provide guidance on scientific, funding, and policy matters across the Institute. NIMH staff also facilitate the development of research initiatives and funding opportunities. Each team makes substantial contributions to their respective fields that deepen our understanding of science and mental health within the Institute and the larger biomedical research community.

NIMH continues to support the use of Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) as a framework for investigating mental disorders across many different research areas. RDoC encourages investigators to explore the basic biological and cognitive processes that lead to mental health and illness outside the confines of diagnostic categories. RDoC research focuses on transdiagnostic constructs of psychopathology, along a range of functioning, to help understand the development, progression, and treatment of mental illness.


Suicide is an urgent, complex public health crisis. The Suicide Research Team was formed as part of NIMH’s commitment to helping reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025.


The Genomics Team helps shape the field of genomic psychiatry, the study of genes to improve risk prediction, prevention, diagnosis, treatment selection, and causes of mental illnesses. The Genomics Team has initiated many programs from basic gene discovery to clinical translational efforts.

Mental Health Disparities

The Disparities Team promotes innovative and high-impact mental health research that enhances our understanding of minority mental health and health disparities, reduces mental health disparities and their impact on individuals and communities, and moves us toward achieving mental health equity.

Global Mental Health

The Global Mental Health Team helps shape and advance NIMH’s efforts to improve the lives of people living with or at risk for mental illnesses in low-resource settings worldwide.