RAND Mental Health Systems Initiative

Mature counselor listens compassionately to female client, Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images
Mature counselor listens compassionately to female client, Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images
Mature counselor listens compassionately to female client, Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

RAND Mental Health Systems Initiative

A resource for improving access to quality mental health services in communities across the country through broad expertise and state-of-the-art methods

Our Purpose

A fraught regulatory environment, inequities in access to care, insurance complexities and stigma are just a few of the barriers that prevent half of people with mental health conditions from receiving care.

Mental health systems have the potential to solve some of these problems, and RAND is uniquely positioned to help. The RAND Mental Health Systems Initiative is a multidisciplinary team with hundreds of experts that can help you navigate the complexities of policy to provide people with the high-quality, evidence-based mental health care they need.

  • Black Americans are more likely to be hospitalized for mental health conditions and less likely to receive outpatient services.
  • 1 in 8 visits to the Emergency Department are related to a mental health or substance abuse issue.
  • 26 million Americans have untreated mental illness.
  • 2 million people with mental illness are treated in prisons which have become one of the largest care providers.

How We Can Help

  • A Holistic Approach

    We can help you optimize mental health systems to treat the whole person.

    Mental health is affected by so much more than one's treatment plan, or lack thereof. Mental health is intertwined with clinical and social factors like homelessness, criminal justice issues, physical disabilities, and many more. That's why RAND approaches mental health delivery problems in ways that consider interdependencies and resource constraints to break down silos and improve outcomes.

  • We can help you establish metrics.

    RAND can establish a baseline, benchmarks, and targets for system improvement.

  • We can help you bring stakeholders together.

    RAND has unique experience leading consensus building exercises to generate buy-in.

  • We can help you analyze policy options.

    RAND experts combine policy and behavioral health care knowledge to advise clients on policy solutions.

  • We can help you forecast outcomes.

    RAND can leverage big data and techniques like machine learning to forecast the impacts of potential policies.

  • We can help you evaluate program and policy impact.

    RAND can measure impact on factors like patient outcome improvements, cost savings, and return on investment.


RAND represents more than 1,000 policy experts in a wide range of disciplines, with unrivaled expertise advising on mental health systems. We are nonprofit, nonpartisan and committed to the public interest. Our published work is available free to the public, expanding each project’s reach and impact.

Beautiful image of RAND Corporation headquarters building in Santa Monica, Photo by Diane Baldwin

Photo by Diane Baldwin

Get in Touch

Let’s start a discussion about how we can work together to solve mental health care problems.

Use this form or send an email to mentalhealth@rand.org.

Special Notice

Materials funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) are available in alternative formats to ensure accessibility. (Alternative format materials may include Braille, large print, audio CD, data CD, or qualified reader). For information about the availability of auxiliary aids and services for CMS-funded products, please visit: http://www.medicare.gov/about-us/nondiscrimination/nondiscrimination-notice.html