Several studies in this issue of RAND Health Quarterly inform efforts to improve mental health through policy intervention. Three studies review and synthesize the literature related to the impact of policy interventions intended to reduce suicide and self-inflicted injuries, stigma and discrimination, and student mental health. Reviews such as these provide critical information on past policy efforts and experiments to inform the development of effective, successful policy in the future. The success or failure of policy often hinges on design features, contextual factors, and implementation. While these studies describe how contextual factors influence results, they also contribute context-independent insight through conceptual frameworks.
A fourth study focuses on factors that promote and hinder the dissemination and translation of comparative effectiveness research to inform health care and health policy decisionmaking. Another study synthesizes data on cancer-related outcomes in Washington, D.C., and identifies disparities between black and white residents. Watkins et al. develop an evaluation framework for California's prevention and early intervention–focused Mental Health Services Act. Robust evaluation frameworks allow policymakers and implementers to learn whether their actions have the intended effects. A final study reviews the extent, impacts, and costs of workplace wellness programs in the United States.
Andrew W. Mulcahy, Ph.D., M.P.P., Editor