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.

  • A suicide prevention sign on the fence on the walkway of the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey, January 12, 2022, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will the New 988 Hotline Be a Game Changer for Mental Health or a Missed Opportunity?

    Someone dies from suicide in the United States every 11 minutes, a rate that has increased almost 30 percent since 2000. The 988 mental health hotline will launch on July 16, but states need to clear significant hurdles: funding the expanded crisis response system and making sure people know it's available.

    Jun 20, 2022

  • Scholars of the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program with Lisa Hallett, cofounder of "wear blue: run to remember," a nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military, August 2019, photo by Grant Miller/Bush Institute

    Research Brief

    Standards for Delivering High-Quality Care to Veterans with Invisible Wounds

    Depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and substance use disorders interfere with veterans' employment, family life, community engagement, and well-being. There are effective treatments but also barriers to accessing them. A set of standards can help identify providers who serve veterans and deliver high-quality care.

    May 9, 2022

Explore Mental Health and Illness

  • 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

  • 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