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

  • San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland signals a first down after an interception against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, November 16, 2014

    Commentary

    Traumatic Brain Injury Isn't Just an NFL Problem

    Chris Borland retired early out of concern for his long-term mental and emotional health as a result of football's well-documented link to traumatic brain injury. Hopefully, his bold move will lead to better prevention and treatment of brain trauma in football, but it is also an issue for young athletes, military veterans, and others.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Most California Residents Facing Psychological Distress Do Not See the Public as Supportive and Report Discrimination

    In a survey of California residents facing psychological distress, only 41 percent believe that people are caring and sympathetic to those with mental illnesses, and 81 percent believe that people with mental illness experience high levels of prejudice and discrimination, both in personal relationships and in public realms such as the workplace.

    Apr 23, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Sleep Problems Prevalent for Military Members Post-Deployment

    Improving the quality and quantity of U.S. military members' sleep following deployment could help reduce other health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, a lack of consistent and transparent sleep-related policies may impede efforts to promote sleep health among service members.

    Apr 6, 2015

  • An Imam recites verses from the Koran through a megaphone in an effort to 'heal' patients with mental health problems in Mogadishu, Somalia

    Commentary

    Mental Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

    Depression is the leading cause of disability throughout the world and is especially prevalent among low-income African countries, where 75 percent of the people who suffer from mental illness do not have easy access to the mental health care they need.

    Mar 10, 2015

  • Kayla Williams, outside the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia

    Q&A

    From Combat to Caregiving: Q&A with Kayla Williams

    Kayla Williams talks about being a female soldier and the spouse of a wounded warrior, why veterans aren't broken and caregivers aren't saints, and more.

    Mar 6, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    California Mental Health Prevention Effort Is Showing Positive Early Results

    An effort to improve mental health prevention and early intervention in California is showing positive early results for programs targeted at reducing stigma and discrimination, educating the public about suicide prevention, and improving the mental health of students.

    Feb 24, 2015

  • Couple getting counseling

    Commentary

    Putting UK Mental Health Services on the Road to Recovery

    If mental health problems are the most significant barrier preventing people on benefits from taking up employment, then why not transform how the system supports them? Policymakers could redirect some of the resources available to the benefit system towards improving mental health outcomes, and put more evidence-based interventions in place. The savings to the benefit system should logically pay for this investment.

    Feb 20, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana Legalization in Vermont

    If Vermont chooses to remove its prohibition on producing and selling marijuana, lawmakers will have many choices to make about who will supply it, who can buy it, if and how it will be taxed, and how it will be regulated. There are pros and cons to all policy options as well as uncertainty about how different forms of legalization will affect public health and safety.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • A physical therapist greeting a patient in a hospital rehab gym

    Commentary

    Military Turns to Collaborative Care to Treat PTSD, Depression

    Collaborative care has been an important part of Army efforts to reach out to those struggling with PTSD and depression. It has brought a science-based solution to an essential military problem and has helped thousands of men and women in uniform in ways that also nudge the larger mental health system toward greater effectiveness for all Americans.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Community-Based Mental Health Providers Need More Preparation to Better Care for Veterans

    Most community-based mental health providers are not well prepared to take care of the special needs of military veterans and their families. A national survey of mental health providers found that few providers met criteria for military cultural competency or used evidence-based approaches to treat problems commonly seen among veterans.

    Nov 12, 2014

  • Two U.S. soldiers with sunglasses

    Commentary

    Compromised Confidentiality in the Military Is Harmful

    Mental health stigma exists across American society, but the problem in the military is fundamentally different. It boils down to the jarring and institutionalized military failure to place adequate boundaries between the workplace and the therapist's office.

    Oct 27, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Military Making Progress on Reducing Stigma Associated with Seeking Help For Mental Illness

    Despite efforts of both the U.S. Department of Defense and the Veterans Health Administration to enhance mental health services, many service members still do not seek needed care. Defense officials have made a concerted effort to promote treatment as a way to reduce stigma.

    Sep 30, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Type of Therapy Kids Receive for ADHD Depends on Where They Live

    Less than a quarter of commercially-insured U.S. children prescribed ADHD drugs received any talk therapy in the same year they received medication, and the percentage is far lower in many parts of the country.

    Sep 22, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Private Effort to Address Veterans' Mental Health Needs Could Aid VA Health Care Reform

    A unique partnership to support private efforts to provide mental health services to veterans and their families could provide a model for similar efforts should federal officials decide to expand privately provided health care as part of reform of the VA health system.

    Sep 18, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Populations in England Report Poorer Health and Worse Experiences with Health Care

    Lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men in England are more likely to suffer from poor health than the general population and are more likely to report unfavorable experiences with the health care they received in general practices.

    Sep 4, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Survey Finds Veterans Satisfied with Mental Health and Substance Use Care, but Also See Room for Improvement

    A survey of more than 5,000 U.S. veterans receiving mental health services from the Veterans Health Administration found general satisfaction, but also significant room for improvement among all areas studied.

    Aug 20, 2014

  • A man walks past the headquarters building at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, May 23, 2014

    Commentary

    Improving the Experience of Veterans Seeking Mental Health and Substance Use Care

    Last week, President Obama signed a bill to overhaul care provided by the Veterans Health Administration. This is an important step, but attention to veterans' experiences receiving care, particularly veterans in need of mental health and substance use care, should be an essential component to ongoing efforts to improve quality.

    Aug 13, 2014

  • Worried teen girl sits on sofa

    Commentary

    We Need to Talk About the Taboo — 'Mental Health Matters'

    The stigma surrounding mental health often leads young people to shy away from seeking the help and support they need. This year's celebration of the UN's International Youth Day (12th August) focuses on mental health and aims to raise awareness and remove the stigma.

    Aug 11, 2014

  • Distressed soldier with counselor

    Commentary

    Military and Veteran Mental Health: Why Should Psychiatrists Care?

    What's happening in the mental health world of the U.S. military and veterans is of great interest to all American psychiatrists. The local impact of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan runs much deeper than just the number of veterans in a particular practice or community.

    Aug 6, 2014

  • The Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona June 11, 2014

    Commentary

    Private Mental Health Providers Must Stand Ready to Help Veterans

    Not all veterans wish to seek services at or through the VA, and many may not meet eligibility criteria. The VA is a critical component of the health care delivery system for former U.S. servicemembers, but it cannot and should not comprise the system alone.

    Jun 27, 2014