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

    Contractors Who Worked in Conflict Zones Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Depression and Get Little Help

    Private contractors who worked in Iraq, Afghanistan or other conflict environments over the past two years report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression more often than military personnel who served in recent conflicts. Relatively few get help either before or after deployment.

    Dec 10, 2013

  • child sleeping near a Christmas tree

    Commentary

    How to Sleep in Heavenly Peace This Holiday Season

    The holiday season is a time when people try to do too much. And that often leads to stress and worry, which can be the enemies of a good night's sleep. Here are a few tricks to help manage the episodic bouts of insomnia that are common during the holidays.

    Dec 2, 2013

  • a man in a wheelchair with his wife and caregiver

    Commentary

    They Also Serve: Understanding the Needs of Military Caregivers

    Military families play a critical role in supporting U.S. servicemembers during deployment and afterwards. Equally vital but often less visible is the role played by those who care for the servicemembers who return with disabling injuries or illnesses and require long-term support beyond what the formal health care system provides.

    Nov 18, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    What Makes Biomedical and Health Research More Likely to Benefit Patients

    To make an impact on patient care within a 20-year timeframe, biomedical research funders and policymakers should focus resources on clinical rather than basic research, and support individuals who work across disciplinary boundaries and are motivated by patient need.

    Oct 28, 2013

  • Sailors aboard the USS San Jacinto pray for suicide victims during a suicide prevention and awareness event called Walk Out of Darkness

    Solution

    Addressing the Invisible Wounds of War

    Before 2007, little was known about how the availability of behavioral health services compared with the need among returning troops—or about the consequences to the nation if these needs were not met.

    Oct 10, 2013

  • women helping a senior man in a library

    Commentary

    Using the Power of Communities to Beat Depression

    Under-resourced communities of color have limited access to programs that could improve recognition and treatment of depression. RAND and UCLA investigators applied an engagement model to determine how to better serve these communities.

    Aug 27, 2013

  • Stressed businessman getting headache

    Commentary

    Under Pressure: How Europe Manages Psychosocial Risks in the Workplace

    During an economic downturn, employers are unlikely to put the mental health of their workers at the top of the agenda. But it is precisely in these circumstances that employers cannot afford to ignore the mental well-being of employees.

    Jul 17, 2013

  • stressed woman at work

    Project

    Psychological Wellbeing and Work in the UK

    Poor mental health is associated with high economic and social costs and represents a significant policy challenge in the UK. RAND Europe is identifying approaches to improve the effectiveness and alignment of health and employment services to achieve better employment outcomes for individuals with mental health problems.

    Jul 16, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Incorporating Community Groups Into Depression Care Can Improve Coping Among Low-Income Patients

    Improving care for depression in low-income communities — places where such help is frequently unavailable or hard to find — provides greater benefits to those in need when community groups such as churches and even barber shops help lead the planning process.

    Jun 25, 2013

  • Moore, Okla. resident looking through remains of her house that was detroyed by the tornado

    Commentary

    Moore Must Be Ready for Psychological Aftermath

    Ensuring the availability of needed mental health resources was critical in the immediate aftermath and recovery phase of the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Authorities in Oklahoma must ensure that such services are in place early so that Moore's residents can begin the long journey to recovery.

    May 31, 2013

  • Tornado damaged classroom in the Tower Elementary School in Moore, OK

    Blog

    Resources for Schools and Parents Following the Deadly Oklahoma Tornado

    The toll of the tornado on school students in Moore, Oklahoma, cannot be overstated. To assist with recovery, RAND's CBITS program offers resources on psychological first aid for schools, as well as additional materials for educators and parents.

    May 29, 2013

  • tags and American flag

    Commentary

    Research Is a Fundamental Component of Suicide Prevention

    While our research has taught us many things about suicide prevention, we think additional research is critically needed in two areas, writes Rajeev Ramchand. The first is gun control. The second area is the quality of behavioral health care available to those who need it.

    May 24, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Military Caregivers Aid Injured Warriors, but Little Is Known About Their Needs

    Spouses, family members, and others who provide informal care to U.S. military members after they return home from conflict often toil long hours with little support, putting them at risk for physical, emotional, and financial harm.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • depressed teenage boy with handgun

    Commentary

    Can Improved Mental Health Care Prevent Gun Crimes? The Truth Is, We Don't Know

    If policymakers and the public expect the mental health community to play a significant role in preventing future incidents like Newtown, the mental health research agenda must become a higher national priority in future federal funding decisions, writes Terry Schell.

    Jan 17, 2013

  • RAND president and CEO Michael Rich and Ret. Gen. Peter Chiarelli at RAND's Politics Aside event

    Blog

    Retired General Chiarelli Discusses Perceptions of Post-Traumatic Stress

    Ret. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who was Army vice chief of staff, discusses why he disagrees with the idea that the post-traumatic stress soldiers suffer is a disorder with RAND president and CEO Michael Rich at RAND's Politics Aside event.

    Dec 31, 2012

  • family grieving

    Commentary

    Shifting the Burden of Mental Health Care: Helping Families

    In our national conversation on mental health, we should remember the role of families when thinking about treatment and ensure that our policies open up opportunities to support parents, siblings and relatives, and enhance their capacity for care, writes Ramya Chari.

    Dec 21, 2012

  • a young boy and girl hold hands while walking to school

    Commentary

    In Connecticut, Recovery and Healing Will Take Time

    With an event like this, “recovery” doesn't mean a return to normal, because lives have been permanently altered. Recovery can only mean finding a new normal, a new path forward. And schools, those places of safety and healthy development, can help with that process, by providing a structure and community to support healing, writes Lisa Jaycox.

    Dec 20, 2012

  • couple consoling each other in front of Christmas tree

    Commentary

    Supporting Families Affected by Military Suicide Should Be a Priority for All

    While many of these families fight for honor and respect from the DoD or support from the VA, the comfort that they need will not be provided by either institution, nor should it be. Rather, it is up to us—as their neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and students—to shower these families with the love and support they need and deserve, writes Rajeev Ramchand.

    Nov 29, 2012

  • Commentary

    We Need a Public-Private Approach to Supporting Veterans

    Honoring the sacrifices of veterans should be front and center on our policy agenda and not limited to one day a year, says Terri Tanielian.

    Nov 12, 2012

  • U.S. soldier at a prayer service while on duty in Iraq

    Blog

    Stigma Reduction Programs Could Help Those with PTSD, but the Evidence Is Weak

    Determining the effectiveness of programs designed to reduce the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder is essential to helping servicemembers seek and receive the care they need.

    Jul 3, 2012