Mental Health and Illness

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Many diseases, injuries, and maladies are associated with psychological or physical impairment that affect mental health. RAND research covers a broad range of mental health and illness topics, including autism spectrum disorders, teen depression, disparities in mental health care, and post-traumatic stress (PTSD) among military veterans and survivors of natural disasters.

  • U.S. Army specialist in a door-to-door exercise at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, June 20, 2014, photo by Spc. Charles Probst/U.S. Army

    Report

    The Behavioral Health of Minority Service Members

    Feb 1, 2021

    Members of minority groups make up a larger percentage of the U.S. military than ever before. Identifying whether and where behavioral health disparities exist among them can help the Department of Defense better address troops' mental health needs and improve force readiness.

  • A young woman having a counseling session with a psychologist using a video conferencing tool, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How COVID-19 Lessons Can Transform U.S. Mental Health Care

    Jun 2, 2021

    It would be a powerful conclusion to the pandemic if Americans reimagined a health system that was resilient against future threats, including the resulting psychological trauma. Policymakers have the opportunity now to cut short the pandemic's long tail of mental illness by taking decisive action.

Explore Mental Health and Illness

  • News Release

    News Release

    Suicide Prevention Hotlines in California Could Expand Digital Offerings and Partnerships with Health Systems to ...

    Suicide prevention hotlines in California respond to callers in need and reduce their distress. They could reach more people and improve services by expanding digital offerings such as chat and establishing programs to monitor and improve quality.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • Debra Mendelsohn (left) poses with her husband, Bill (center), and their two children, Emelie and Doug, in November 2010

    Essay

    The Resilience of Military Families

    Deployment of a spouse and parent can shake a military family to its core. But according to RAND research, these families display remarkable resilience.

    Jun 16, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    Centrally Assisted Telecare for Military Members with PTSD/Depression Shows Improved Results

    Military members who visited a primary care clinic while suffering from PTSD and depression reported fewer symptoms and better mental health functioning a year after enrolling in a treatment program that included specially trained care managers and telephone therapy options.

    Jun 13, 2016

  • A woman discussing her insomnia with a counselor

    Commentary

    A New Prescription for Sleepless Americans: Take Advice, Not a Pill

    New guidelines from the American College of Physicians favor behavioral therapy over meds as the first-line treatment for insomnia. However, the ACP's recommendation will not in itself raise the level of access to optimal care for insomnia patients.

    May 9, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    California Mental Health Stigma-Reduction Campaign Creates Economic Benefits for the State

    California's social marketing campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness may have positive economic effects by increasing employment and worker productivity. For every $1 invested in the stigma-reduction effort, the state should receive an estimated $36 through higher tax collections.

    Apr 14, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    Changing the Mental Health Climate on College Campuses Improves Student Outcomes and Benefits Society

    If every California public college student with a current mental health problem or recent mental health-related academic impairment were to study on a campus with a culture supportive of mental wellness, the chances of that student getting the care they need would increase by almost 40 percent.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • A mother holding a baby in a rocking chair while looking out a window

    Commentary

    New Depression-Screening Guidelines Could Help Both Mother and Child

    Behavioral health professionals and community agencies often do not consider the impact of parental depression on young children or focus on the adult's role as a parent. New guidelines recommending depression screening during primary care visits for pregnant women and new mothers are a critical first step.

    Mar 18, 2016

  • Cast members Amber Heard (left), Eddie Redmayne (center), and Alicia Vikander pose during the premiere of "The Danish Girl" in Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2015

    Commentary

    At the 2016 Oscars, Transgender Health Issues Are in the Spotlight

    By inviting “The Danish Girl” to Hollywood's most prestigious awards party, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is helping to shine a spotlight on transgender issues — and reflecting a larger cultural moment at the same time.

    Feb 26, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    Areas of Excellence and Need for Improvement Found in Quality of Mental Health Care Provided by the Military

    The military health system performs well in following up with patients after they are discharged from a mental health hospitalization. But some areas of care for PTSD and depression need improvement. For example, although most patients received at least one psychotherapy visit, the number and timing of subsequent visits may be inadequate.

    Feb 18, 2016

  • U.S. Army soldier conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, August 22, 2014

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Women at War'

    Today, women represent approximately 15 percent of the U.S. military but research on their specific physical and psychological health issues has remained relatively sparse. A new book, Women at War, attempts to change that.

    Dec 21, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Campus Programs Increase Proportion of California College Students Receiving Mental Health Services, Yielding a ...

    Campus prevention and early intervention programs increased the proportion of California college students receiving mental health services by more than 10 percent. More students will likely graduate, which increases an individual's lifetime earnings and benefits society.

    Dec 10, 2015

  • Tourists walk past the entrance to the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 23, 2015

    Blog

    Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years After the Storm

    This weekend marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. As the region struggled to cope and rebuild after the storm, RAND experts worked on solutions to the region's long-term challenges.

    Aug 27, 2015

  • A contractor captures biological data of a local man in the Laghman province of Afghanistan, December 14, 2014

    Commentary

    A Frontline Civilian's Invisible Wounds of War

    For frontline civilians, daily life built around war often involves waking up on a remote base and working side by side with soldiers in hazardous places. They often don't get the care and support that they need, whether in an area of crisis and instability, or when they return home.

    Jul 6, 2015

  • A private security contractor and soldiers look at a destroyed vehicle after an attack near Najaf, Iraq, May 18, 2006

    Commentary

    Military Security Contractors Get PTSD, Too

    Largely absent from the conversation about the use of military security contractors are the parallel issues of mental health and the deployment-related stress contractors can face.

    Jun 12, 2015

  • Man at a barber shop getting a haircut

    Announcement

    Community Partners in Care Receives Accolade

    Community Partners in Care, a partnership that uses a unique approach to improve depression care in under-resourced communities, has received the 2015 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Award.

    Jun 10, 2015

  • Man wearing camouflage using a laptop

    Commentary

    Social Media as a Tool for Reaching Veterans in Need of Mental Health Care

    Reaching veterans to learn more about their mental health care seeking poses a conundrum. They are typically recruited for studies in clinical settings, so those who are not seeking care are not represented. Facebook may be a viable method to reach them.

    Jun 9, 2015

  • The Midnight Mission shelter on skid row before a Veterans Day observance for homeless veterans in Los Angeles, California, November 11, 2013

    Commentary

    Veterans Battle Mental Health Issues After Iraq and Afghanistan

    Researchers have made great progress capturing the consequences of coping with injuries sustained in the theater of war, but the emerging picture is shadowed in grays. A series of recent findings presents a bleak portrait of the cost of modern war to service members, their families, and their health care providers.

    Jun 4, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Prop. 63 Suicide Prevention Investment Will Save Lives and Dollars; California Suicide Prevention Programs Have Broad ...

    A mass media campaign intended to help prevent suicides in California is reaching a majority of the state's adults and appears to be increasing their confidence about how to intervene with those at risk. In addition, an assessment of a companion suicide prevention program finds that the long-term impact could be the prevention of at least 140 deaths and 3,600 suicide attempts per year over the next three decades.

    May 18, 2015

  • Soldiers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment catch a few winks before jumping over North Carolina during a training exercise

    Commentary

    U.S. Soldiers Denied Sleep Suffer Major Health Effects

    More than 60 percent of service members don't get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night. About a third get by on five hours or less. The military, and society at large, needs to recognize the importance of sleep as a crucial link to physical and mental well-being.

    May 11, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Online Training Can Teach Psychotherapists Evidence-Based Treatments

    Psychotherapy treatments can lag years behind what research has shown to be effective because there simply are not enough clinicians trained in new methods. But online training programs can be as successful as in-person instruction for teaching psychotherapists how to use newer evidence-based treatments.

    May 5, 2015