Depression Care

Depression is a global problem and a leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for as much loss in functioning as most chronic diseases. Depression costs employers more than $50 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills. Yet it continues to be under-diagnosed and undertreated.

RAND’s research has focused on the impact of depression on specific populations, such as veterans and underserved groups. RAND work has also examined approaches to increasing access to evidence-based depression care and improving quality and developing interventions to improve care. Examples of our depression work include:

  • A long-running study, Partners in Care (PIC). PIC was a real-world trial launched in 1998. Primary care clinics implemented practical programs to improve access to depression care among minority populations in underserved areas. This long-term study developed a depression screener to help diagnose depression and has led to similar programs for extending access to care for teens and in inner-city communities.
  • A recent analysis examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on increased depression risk among frontline health care providers.