National Institute of Mental Health


The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior.

In the United States, mental disorders collectively account for more than 15% of the overall "burden of disease"—a term that encompasses both premature death and disability associated with mental illness. Mental disorders occur across the lifespan, from very young childhood into old age.

Investments made over the past 50 years in basic brain and behavioral science have positioned NIMH to exploit recent advances in neuroscience, molecular genetics, behavioral science, and brain imaging; to translate new knowledge about fundamental processes into researchable clinical questions; and to initiate innovative clinical trials of new pharmacological and psychosocial interventions, with emphasis on testing their effectiveness in the diagnostically complex, diverse group of patients typically encountered in front-line service delivery systems. NIMH-funded investigators also seek new ways to translate results from basic behavioral science into research relevant to public health, including the epidemiology of mental disorders, prevention and early intervention research, and mental health service research.

Diverse scientific disciplines contribute to the design and evaluation of treatments and treatment delivery strategies that are relevant and responsive to the needs of people with or at risk for mental illness. A thrust of this research is to eliminate the effects of disparities in the availability of and access to high-quality mental health services. These disparities, which impinge on the mental health status of all Americans, are felt in particular by many members of ethnic/cultural, minority groups, and by women, children, and elderly people.

In this era of opportunity, NIMH is strongly committed to scientific programs to educate and train future mental health researchers, including scientists trained in molecular science, cognitive and affective neuroscience, mental health clinical sciences, and other disciplines urgently needed in studies of mental illness and the brain.

Mechanisms of Support. NIMH provides leadership at a national level for research on brain, behavior, and mental illness.

Under a rigorous and highly competitive process, the institute funds research project and research center grants and contracts awarded to individual investigators and to public and private institutions. NIMH also maintains and conducts a diversified program of intramural and collaborative research in its own laboratories and clinical research units at NIH.

NIMH's informational and educational activities include the dissemination of information and education materials on mental illness to health professionals and the public; professional associations; international, national, state, and local officials; and voluntary organizations working in the areas of mental health and mental illness.

Important Events in NIMH History

1946—On July 3 President Harry Truman signed the National Mental Health Act, which called for the establishment of a National Institute of Mental Health. The first meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council was held on August 15. Because no federal funds had yet been appropriated for the new institute, the Greentree Foundation financed the meeting.

1947—On July 1 the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Division of Mental Hygiene awarded the first mental health research grant (MH-1) entitled "Basic Nature of the Learning Process" to Dr. Winthrop N. Kellogg of Indiana University.

1949—On April 15 NIMH was formally established; it was 1 of the first 4 NIH institutes.

1955—The Mental Health Study Act of 1955 (Public Law 84-182) called for "an objective, thorough, nationwide analysis and reevaluation of the human and economic problems of mental health." The resulting Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health issued a report, Action for Mental Health, that was researched and published under the sponsorship of 36 organizations making up the Commission.

1961Action for Mental Health, a 10-volume series, assessed mental health conditions and resources throughout the United States "to arrive at a national program that would approach adequacy in meeting the individual needs of the mentally ill people of America." Transmitted to Congress on December 31, 1960, the report commanded the attention of President John F. Kennedy, who established a cabinet-level interagency committee to examine the recommendations and determine an appropriate Federal response.

1963—President Kennedy submitted a special message to Congress—the first Presidential message to Congress on mental health issues. Energized by the President's focus, Congress quickly passed the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act (P.L. 88-164), beginning a new era in Federal support for mental health services. NIMH assumed responsibility for monitoring the Nation's community mental health centers (CMHC) programs.

1965—During the mid-1960s, NIMH launched an extensive attack on special mental health problems. Part of this was a response to President Johnson's pledge to apply scientific research to social problems. The Institute established centers for research on schizophrenia, child and family mental health, and suicide, as well as crime and delinquency, minority group mental health problems, urban problems, and later, rape, aging, and technical assistance to victims of natural disasters. A provision in the Social Security Amendments of 1965 (P.L. 89-97) provided funds and a framework for a new Joint Commission on the Mental Health of Children to recommend national action for child mental health.

Also in this year, staffing amendments to the CMHC act authorized grants to help pay the salaries of professional and technical personnel in federally funded community mental health centers.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism did not receive full recognition as a major public health problem until the mid-1960s, when the National Center for Prevention and Control of Alcoholism was established as part of NIMH; a research program on drug abuse was inaugurated within NIMH with the establishment of the Center for Studies of Narcotic and Drug Abuse.

1967—NIMH separated from NIH and was given Bureau status within PHS by reorganization effective January 1. However, NIMH's intramural research program, which conducted studies in the NIH Clinical Center and other NIH facilities, remained at NIH under an agreement for joint administration between NIH and NIMH.

On August 13 U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) Secretary John W. Gardner transferred St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the Federal government's only civilian psychiatric hospital, to NIMH.

1968—NIMH became a component of PHS's Health Services and Mental Health Administration (HSMHA).

1970—Dr. Julius Axelrod, an NIMH researcher, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research into the chemistry of nerve transmission for "discoveries concerning the humoral transmitters in the nerve terminals and the mechanisms for their storage, release, and inactivation." He found an enzyme that stopped the action of the nerve transmitter noradrenaline—a critical target of many antidepressant drugs—in the synapse.

In a major development for people with manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of lithium as a treatment for mania, based on NIMH research. The treatment led to sharp drops in inpatient days and suicides among people with this serious mental illness and to immense reductions in the economic costs associated with bipolar disorder.

Also during this year, the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act (P.L. 91-616) established the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism within NIMH.

1972—The Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act established a National Institute on Drug Abuse within NIMH.

1973—NIMH went through a series of organizational moves. The Institute temporarily rejoined NIH on July 1 with the abolishment of HSMHA. Then, the HEW secretary administratively established the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA)—composed of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and NIMH—as the successor organization to HSMHA.

1974—ADAMHA was officially established on May 4 when President Nixon signed P.L. 93-282.

1975—The community mental health centers program was given added impetus with the passage of the CMHC amendments of 1975.

1977—President Jimmy Carter established the President's Commission on Mental Health on February 17 by Executive Order No. 11973. The commission was charged to review the mental health needs of the Nation, and to make recommendations to the President as to how best to meet these needs. First Lady Rosalyn Carter served as the Honorary Chair of the commission.

1978—The 4-volume Report to the President from the President's Commission on Mental Health was submitted.

1980—The Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study, an unprecedented research effort that entailed interviews with a nationally representative sample of 20,000 Americans, was launched. The field interviews and first-wave analyses were completed in 1985. Data from the ECA provided an accurate picture of rates of mental and addictive disorders and services usage.

The Mental Health Systems Act—based on recommendations of the President's Commission on Mental Health and designed to provide improved services for persons with mental disorders—was passed. NIMH also participated in development of the National Plan for the Chronically Mentally Ill, a sweeping effort to improve services and fine-tune various Federal entitlement programs for those with severe, persistent mental disorders.

1981—President Ronald Reagan signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. This act repealed the Mental Health Systems Act and consolidated ADAMHA's treatment and rehabilitation service programs into a single block grant that enabled each State to administer its allocated funds. With the repeal of the community mental health legislation and the establishment of block grants, the Federal role in services to the mentally ill became one of providing technical assistance to increase the capacity of State and local providers of mental health services.

Dr. Louis Sokoloff, an intramural NIMH researcher, received the Albert Lasker Award in Clinical Medical Research for developing a new method of measuring brain function that contributed to basic understanding and diagnosis of brain diseases. His technique, which measures the brain's use of glucose, made possible exciting new applications to positron emission tomography, or PET scanning, the first imaging technology that permitted scientists to "observe" and obtain visual images of the living, functioning brain.

Dr. Roger Sperry, a longtime NIMH research grantee, received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discoveries regarding the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres, or the "left" and "right" brain.

1983—NIMH-funded investigator Fernando Nottebohm discovered the formation of new neurons in brains of adult song-birds; this evidence of "neurogenesis" opened an exciting and clinically promising new line of research in brain science. It was 15 years, however, before investigators reported finding evidence for continued neurogenesis in the brains of adult human subjects.

1987—Administrative control of St. Elizabeth's Hospital is transferred from the NIMH to the District of Columbia. NIMH retained research facilities on the grounds of the hospital.

1989—Congress passed a resolution, subsequently signed as a proclamation by President George Bush, designating the 1990s as the "Decade of the Brain."

The NIMH Neuroscience Center and the NIMH Neuropsychiatric Research Hospital, located on the grounds of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, were dedicated on September 25.

1992—Congress passed the ADAMHA Reorganization Act (P.L. 102-321), abolishing ADAMHA. The research components of NIAAA, NIDA, and NIMH rejoined NIH, while the services components of each institute became part of a new PHS agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The return to NIH and the loss of services functions to SAMHSA necessitated a realignment of the NIMH extramural program administrative organization. New offices are created for research on Prevention, Special Populations, Rural Mental Health, and AIDS.

1993—NIMH established the Silvio O. Conte Centers program to provide a unifying research framework for collaborations to pursue newly formed hypotheses of brain-behavior relationships in mental illness through innovative research designs and state-of-the-art technologies.

NIMH established the Human Brain Project to develop—through cutting-edge imaging, computer, and network technologies—a comprehensive neuroscience database accessible via an international computer network.

1994—Intramural Research Program Revitalization—The House Appropriations Committee mandated that the director of NIH conduct a review of the role, size, and cost of all NIH intramural research programs. NIMH and the National Advisory Mental Health Council initiated a major study of the NIMH Intramural Research Program. The planning committee recommended continued investment in the Intramural Research Program and recommended specific administrative changes; many of these were implemented upon release of the committee's final report. Other changes—for example, the establishment of a major new program on Mood and Anxiety Disorders—have been introduced in the years since.

1996—NIMH, with the National Advisory Mental Health Council, initiated systematic reviews of several areas of its research portfolio, including the genetics of mental disorders; epidemiology and services for child and adolescent populations; prevention research; clinical treatment; and services research. At the request of the NIMH director, the Council established programmatic groups in each of these areas. NIMH continued to implement recommendations issued by these work groups.

NIMH increased the priority placed on research on childhood mental disorders and clinical neuroscience and initiated efforts to expand research in these areas.

NIMH expanded its efforts to safeguard and improve the protections of human subjects who participate in clinical mental health research.

1996-1998—NIMH initiated planning for integration of the Institute's peer review system for neuroscience, behavioral and social science, and AIDS research applications into the overall NIH peer review system.

1997—NIMH realigned its extramural organizational structure to capitalize on new technologies and approaches to both basic and clinical science, as well as immense changes to health care delivery systems, while retaining the Institute's focus on mental illness. The new extramural organization resulted in 3 research divisions: Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Research; Services and Intervention Research; and Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS.

1997-1999—NIMH refocused career development resources on early careers and added new mechanisms for clinical research.

1999—The NIMH Neuroscience Center/Neuropsychiatric Research Hospital was relocated from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC to the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD, in response to the recommendations of the 1996 review of the NIMH Intramural Research Program by the IRP Planning Committee.

The first White House Conference on Mental Health, held June 7 in Washington, DC, brought together national leaders, mental health scientific and clinical personnel, patients, and consumers to discuss needs and opportunities. NIMH developed materials and helped organize the conference.

NIMH convened its fourth rural mental health research conference in August. "Mental Health at the Frontier: Alaska," was held in Anchorage, with visits by researchers and program representatives to several towns and villages. The aim was to solicit assistance in the development of a research agenda focusing on mental health issues for people who live in rural or frontier areas, with a focus on the needs of Alaska Natives.

NIMH hosted "Dialogue: Texas," which was the first in a series of mental health forums to solicit input from the public on the direction of future research at NIMH and to highlight current research. Held in San Antonio, the forum provided Texas consumers, researchers, care providers, and policymakers the opportunity to discuss mental health issues of greatest concern. The meeting focused on Latino and Hispanic populations.

U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher released The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent Suicide, in July, and the first Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, in December. NIMH, along with other Federal agencies, collaborated in the preparation of both of these landmark reports.

In the late 1990s, NIMH began to strengthen its efforts to include the public in its priority setting and strategic planning processes, instituting a variety of approaches to ensure increased public participation.

The NIMH expanded and revitalized its public education and prevention information dissemination programs, including information on suicide, eating disorders, and panic disorder, in addition to the ongoing Institute educational program, Depression: Awareness, Recognition, and Treatment (D/ART).

NIMH also launched an initiative to educate people about anxiety disorders, to decrease stigma and trivialization of these disorders, and to encourage people to seek treatment promptly.

NIMH included members of the public on its scientific review committees reviewing grant applications in the clinical and services research areas.

2000—NIMH created the Council Work Group on Training for Diversity in February to ensure adequate opportunities for minorities to pursue research careers, and to track the success of related Institute programs.

NIMH launched a 5-year communications initiative in March called the Constituency Outreach and Education Program, enlisting nationwide partnerships with state organizations to disseminate science-based mental health information to the public and health professionals, and increase access to effective treatments.

In March, NIMH assisted First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in conducting a meeting on the Safe Use of Medication to Treat Young Children.

NIMH co-hosted 2 town meetings in Chicago on the mental health needs of minority youth and related research. The first meeting, held in April, focused on behavioral, emotional, and cognitive disorders; the impact of violence; the criminalization of youth with treatment needs; service system issues; barriers to treatment; and barriers to research. The July 2000 meeting addressed the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, and the role of the family and society in stemming the spread of HIV, as well as the increase in violence. Members of the general public, parents, teachers, school officials, guidance counselors, and professionals in the health, family assistance, social services, and juvenile justice fields attended the meetings.

NIMH organized the 14th International Conference on Challenges for the 21st Century: Mental Health Services Research, held in Washington, DC in July, to address how to meet mental health service needs nationwide most effectively,reduce health disparities, and provide equitable treatments in an era of managed care.

Dr. Eric Kandel and Dr. Paul Greengard, each of whom has received NIMH support for more than 3 decades, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sweden's Dr. Arvid Carlsson. Dr. Kandel received the prize for his elucidating research on the functional modification of synapses in the brain. Initially using the sea slug as an experimental model but later working with mice, he established that the formation of memories is a consequence of short- and long-term changes in the biochemistry of nerve cells. Further, he and his colleagues showed that these changes occur at the level of synapses. Dr. Greengard was recognized for his discovery that dopamine and several other transmitters can alter the functional state of neuronal proteins. These findings made it clear that signaling between neurons could alter their function not only in the short term but also in the long term. Also, he learned, such changes could be reversed by subsequent environmental signals.

Dr. Nancy Andreasen, a psychiatrist and long-time NIMH grantee, receives the National Medal of Science for her groundbreaking work in schizophrenia and for joining behavioral science with neuroscience and neuroimaging. The Presidential Award is one of the nation's highest awards in science.

2001—In Pittsburgh, NIMH convened more than 150 clinical and basic scientists with expertise relevant to the study of mood disorders to help develop a Research Strategic Plan for Mood Disorders. A public forum held in conjunction with the meeting focused on the frequent co-occurrence of depression with general medical illnesses.

NIMH launched several long-term, large-scale, multi-site, community-based clinical studies to determine the effectiveness of treatment for bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive illness); depression in adolescents; antipsychotic medications in the treatment of schizophrenia, and management of psychotic symptoms and behavioral problems associated with Alzheimer's disease; and subsequent treatment alternatives to relieve depression.

The Surgeon General released a Report on Children's Mental Health indicating that the nation is facing a public crisis in the mental health of children and adolescents. The National Action Agenda outlines goals and strategies to improve services for children and adolescents with mental and emotional disorders. NIMH, along with other Federal agencies, collaborated in the preparation of this report.

2002—NIMH published a national conference report entitled "Mental Health and Mass Violence: Evidence-Based Early Psychological Intervention for Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence: A Workshop to Reach Consensus on Best Practices." While most people recover from a traumatic event in a resilient fashion, the report indicates that early psychological intervention guided by qualified mental health caregivers can reduce the harmful psychological and emotional effects of exposure to mass violence in survivors. NIMH and the Department of Defense, along with other Federal agencies and the Red Cross, collaborated in the preparation of this report.

2003—Real Men. Real Depression campaign launched to raise awareness about depression in men and create an understanding of the signs, symptoms, and available treatments. The campaign was designed to inspire other men to seek help after hearing from real men talking about their experiences with depression, treatment, and recovery.

2004—The Treatment of Adolescent Depression Study (TADS), one of NIMH's 4 large-scale practical clinical trials, yielded important first phase results. The clinical trial of 439 adolescents with major depression found a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be the most effective treatment over the course of the 12-week study. The study compared cognitive-behavioral therapy with fluoxetine, currently the only antidepressant approved by the FDA for use in children and adolescents.

2005—Results from the first phase of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness research program (CATIE), the second of NIMH’s 4 large-scale practical clinical trials, provided, for the first time, detailed information comparing the effectiveness and side effects of 5 medications—both new and older medications—that are currently used to treat people with schizophrenia. Overall, the medications were comparably effective but were associated with high rates of discontinuation due to intolerable side effects or failure to control symptoms adequately. Surprisingly, the older, less expensive medication used in the study generally performed as well as the newer medications. The NIMH-funded study included more than 1,400 people.

NIMH and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) collaborated to help launch the Schizophrenia Research Forum, an online resource— —that aims to advance research in schizophrenia and related diseases. NARSAD is one of the largest donor-supported organizations that funds research on the brain and behavioral disorders.

In the first few weeks after Hurricane Katrina, and later Hurricane Rita, staff from NIMH traveled to the southern Gulf Coast region to provide immediate mental health treatment and prevention services to storm survivors and emergency response staff serving affected communities. In total, NIMH sent 26 scientists, clinicians, nurses, and social workers. Staff provided care to city police and fire squads, allowing these men and women to continue to perform vital services to the city. Others provided treatment assessment and evaluation for children and adolescents who were evacuated from the Mississippi gulf area.

2006—NIMH launched the inaugural edition of Inside NIMH, a new electronic newsletter designed to be published three times each year following meetings of the National Advisory Mental Health Council. The e-newsletter provides the latest news on funding opportunities and policies at NIMH, as well as highlights of research breakthroughs, new tools for mental health research, and public education efforts.

At the open session of the September meeting of NIMH's National Advisory Mental Health Council, Dr. John March, principal investigator of NIMH's TADS program, provided the latest findings of the study, which suggested that even after 18 weeks, the combination of medication and psychotherapy continued to provide the fastest, most effective outcome. Psychotherapy alone could be a viable option for adolescents unable to take medication, but required 6 extra months to achieve the same improvement as treatments involving medication.

Results from the first phase of NIMH's CATIE study focused on Alzheimer's disease yielded evidence that commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications used to treat Alzheimer's patients with delusions, aggression, hallucinations, and other similar symptoms can benefit some patients, but they appear to be no more effective than a placebo when adverse side effects are considered. The study provided the first real-world test of antipsychotic medications prescribed for these patients.

Results from the NIMH-funded Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) research program, the nation's largest clinical trial for depression (and the third of NIMH's 4 practical clinical trials), reported a series of results over the course of the year. The program included 2,876 participants. Phase 1 results, which used flexible adjustment of dosages based on quick and easy-to-use clinician ratings of symptoms and patient self-ratings of side effects, helped clinicians to track "real world" patients who became symptom-free and to identify those who were resistant to the initial treatment over the course of 14 weeks. Phase 2 results showed that 1 in 3 depressed patients who previously did not achieve remission using an antidepressant became symptom-free with the help of an additional medication and 1 in 4 achieved remission after switching to a different antidepressant. Phases 3 and 4 together showed that patients with treatment-resistant depression had a modest chance of becoming symptom-free when they tried different treatment strategies after 2 or 3 failed treatments.

Dr. Aaron T. Beck,—professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, the founder of cognitive therapy, and a long-time NIMH grantee—was named the recipient of the prestigious Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. Dr. Beatriz Luna, director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive Development at the University of Pittsburgh and an NIMH grantee, was among the 12 NIH researchers honored by the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) Program. The PECASE awards are the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

2007—Building on previous research, several studies in the NIMH Intramural Research Program have shown that the drug ketamine relieves depression within hours and helped to clarify a possible mechanism behind this finding. While ketamine itself probably won’t come into use as an antidepressant because of its side effects, the new results move scientists considerably closer to understanding how to develop faster-acting antidepressant medications.  Current medications to treat depression can take weeks to have an effect.

Findings from another NIMH clinical study—The Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD)—revealed that people receiving medication treatment for bipolar disorder are more likely to get well faster and stay well if they also receive intensive psychotherapy.

A simulation study, conducted by Dr. Philip Wang of Harvard University (currently at NIMH) and colleagues, revealed that providing a minimal level of enhanced care for employees’ depression would result in a cumulative savings to employers of $2,898 per 1,000 workers over 5 years. Savings from reduced absenteeism and employee turnover and other benefits of the intervention began to exceed the costs of the program by the second year, yielding a net savings of $4,633 per 1,000 workers.

NIMH Legislative Chronology

1929—P.L. 70-672 established 2 Federal "narcotics farms" and authorized a Narcotics Division within PHS.

1930—P.L. 71-357 redesignated the PHS Narcotics Division to the Division of Mental Hygiene.

1939—P.L. 76-19 transferred PHS from the Treasury Department to the Federal Security Agency.

1946—P.L. 79-487, the National Mental Health Act, authorized the Surgeon General to improve the mental health of U.S. citizens through research into the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

1949—NIMH was established April 15.

1953—Reorganization plan No. 1 assigned PHS to the newly created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1955—P.L. 84-182, the Mental Health Study Act, authorized NIMH to study and make recommendations on mental health and mental illness in the U.S. The act also authorized the creation of the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health.

1956—P.L. 84-830, the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, provided for territorial treatment facilities for mentally ill individuals in Alaska.

1963—P.L. 88-164, the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act, provided for grants for assistance in the construction of community mental health centers nationwide.

1965—P.L. 89-105, amendments to P.L. 88-164, provided for grants for the staffing of community mental health centers.

1966—P.L. 89-793, Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act of 1966, launched a national program for long-term treatment and rehabilitation of narcotic addicts.

1967—P.L. 90-31, Mental Health Amendments of 1967, separated NIMH from NIH and raised it to bureau status in PHS.

1968—NIMH became a component of the newly created Health Services and Mental Health Administration.

P.L. 90-574, The Alcoholic and Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Amendments of 1968, authorized funds for the construction and staffing of new facilities for the prevention of alcoholism and the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics.

1970—P.L. 92-211, Community Mental Health Centers Amendments of 1970, authorized construction and staffing of centers for 3 more years, with priority on poverty areas.

P.L. 91-513, Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, expanded the national drug abuse program by extending the services of federally funded community treatment centers to non-narcotic drug abusers as well as addicts.

P.L. 91-616, Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act, authorized the establishment of a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism within NIMH.

1972—P.L. 92-255, Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act of 1972, provided that a National Institute on Drug Abuse be established within NIMH.

1973—NIMH rejoined NIH.

NIMH later became a component of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA).

1974—P.L. 93-282, authorized the establishment of ADAMHA.

1978—P.L. 95-622, the Community Mental Health Centers Extension Act of 1978.

1979—P.L. 96-88, the Department of Education Organization Act, created the Department of Education and renamed HEW the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

1980—P.L. 96-398, the Mental Health Systems Act, reauthorized the community mental health centers program.

1981—P.L. 97-35, the Omnibus Reconciliation Act, repealed P.L. 96-398 and consolidated ADAMHA's treatment and rehabilitation programs into a single block grant that enabled each State to administer allocated funds.

1983—P.L. 98-24, Alcohol Abuse Amendments of 1983, consolidated the current authorization for ADAMHA and the institutes into a new title V of the PHS act.

1984—P.L. 98-509, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Amendments, authorized funding for block grants for fiscal years 1985 through 1987, as well as extending the authorizations for Federal activities in the areas of alcohol and drug abuse research, information dissemination, and development of new treatment methods.

1991—P.L. 99-550, PHS act, contained the requirement for State Comprehensive Mental Health Services Plan.

1992—P.L. 102-321, the ADAMHA Reorganization Act, abolished ADAMHA, created the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and transferred NIMH research activities to NIH.

2000—P.L. 106-310, The Children's Health Act of 2000, Title I Autism, instructed the Director of NIH to carry out this section through the Director of NIMH and in collaboration with other agencies that the Director determined appropriate. The Act expands, intensifies, and coordinates activities of the NIH with respect to research on autism, including the establishment of not less than 5 centers of excellence that conduct basic and clinical research into autism. The Act also mandated that the Secretary, DHHS establish an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to coordinate autism research and other efforts within the Department. Authority to establish the IACC was delegated to the NIH. The NIMH was designated the NIH lead for this activity.

2006—P.L. 109-416, the Combating Autism Act of 2006, authorized expanded activities related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) related research, surveillance, prevention, treatment, and education. Specifically, the Act authorizes research under NIH to address the entire scope of ASD; authorizes a review of regional centers of excellence for autism research and epidemiology; authorizes activities to increase public awareness, improve use of evidence-based interventions, and increase early screening for autism; and calls on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to enhance information sharing.

Biographical Sketch of NIMH Director, Thomas Insel, M.D.

Thomas R. Insel, M.D., is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders. With a budget of over $1.4 billion, the NIMH leads the nation’s research on disorders that affect an estimated 44 million Americans, including 1 in 5 children.

Immediately prior to his appointment as Director, which marks his return to NIMH after an 8-year hiatus, Dr. Insel was professor of psychiatry at Emory University. There, he was founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, one of the largest science and technology centers funded by the National Science Foundation and, concurrently, director of an NIH-funded Center for Autism Research. From 1994 to 1999, he was director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta. While at Emory, Dr. Insel continued the line of research he had initiated at NIMH studying the neurobiology of complex social behaviors in animals. Early in his NIMH research career, which extended from 1979 to 1994, Dr. Insel conducted clinical research on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), conducting some of the first treatment trials for OCD using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class of medications. He has published over 200 scientific articles and 4 books, including the Neurobiology of Parental Care (with Michael Numan) in 2003.

Dr. Insel has served on numerous academic, scientific, and professional committees, including 10 editorial boards. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and is a recipient of several awards [A. E. Bennett Award from the Society for Biological Psychiatry, Curt Richter Prize from the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, Outstanding Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service, and a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD)]. Dr. Insel graduated from the combined B.A.-M.D. program at Boston University in 1974. He did his internship at Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield, MA, and his residency at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.

NIMH Directors

Name In Office from To
Robert H. Felix 1949 1964
Stanley F. Yolles 1964 1970
Bertram S. Brown 1970 1977
Herbert Pardes 1977 1984
Shervert H. Frazier 1984 1986
Lewis L. Judd 1988 1992
Frederick K. Goodwin 1992 1994
Rex William Cowdry (Acting) 1994 1996
Steven E. Hyman 1996 2001
Richard K. Nakamura (Acting) 2001 2002
Thomas R. Insel 2002 Present

NIMH Programs

In 2004, NIMH reorganized the extramural research program structure into 5 divisions (from the previous 3), enabling the Institute to fully exploit recent scientific breakthroughs, increase cross-disciplinary collaboration, and facilitate translation of basic science discoveries into new interventions.

Office of the Director

Office on AIDS

This office coordinates all NIMH research and activities working towards a better understanding of the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The office also cooperates with voluntary and professional health organizations, other NIH components, and Federal agencies, to identify national research needs and opportunities directed towards meeting AIDS-related public health goals.

Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison

This office oversees the NIMH's public liaison and outreach efforts, including requesting and receiving public input on the Institute's activities, as well as promoting and coordinating Institute interactions with patient advocacy, professional, scientific, and community-based organizations with specific interests in NIMH's mission and programs. The office also monitors mental health-related legislation and issues, and reviews all mental health-related reports to the Congress and other Federal agencies. On request, the office develops analyses and serves as a principal point of contact for interactions with NIH and Departmental staff, as well as with senior staff of the Office of the President and other Federal agencies.

Office of Global Mental Health

This office coordinates, participates in, and reports on international activities with respect to mental health research, such as tracking international grants, identifying opportunities and establishing partnership/collaborative agreements with other domestic and international organizations and government agencies, and working with NIMH extramural and intramural program staff to develop global projects and provide technical consultation to the international mental health community.

Office of Prevention

This office promotes NIMH research programs concerning the prevention of mental disorders and the promotion of mental health by developing, planning, executing, and assessing national programs, including the coordination of cross-Institute prevention research and representing the Institute in NIH, Departmental, cross-agency, private, and international prevention efforts.

Office of Resource Management

This office directs the Institute's resource allocation and management improvement processes by overseeing program planning and financial management, acquisition management, information resource management, management policy and procedure development, interpretation and implementation, the provision of general administrative services throughout the Institute, and personnel operations.

Office of Rural Mental Health

This office supports research activities and provides information on conditions unique to people living in rural areas, including research on the delivery of mental health services to such areas. Also, the office coordinates related Departmental research and activities with public and nonprofit entities.

Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications (OSPPC)

This office plans and directs a comprehensive strategic agenda for national mental health policy, including science program planning and related policy evaluation, research training and coordination, and technology and information transfer. In order to develop and assess NIMH strategic plan and portfolio management, OSPPC plans and implements portfolio analysis, scientific disease coding, and program evaluations. OSPPC also creates and implements the Institute's communication efforts, including information dissemination, media relations, and internal communications. The office proposes and guides science education activities concerned with informing the scientific community and public about diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and brain disorders. In addition, the office is responsible for managing issues related to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), correspondence control, and clearance services for the Institute.

Office for Special Populations

This office develops research policies and programs to assure increased emphasis on the mental health needs of women, minorities, and other special populations. The office supports programs of basic and applied social and behavioral research on the mental health problems of special populations; studies the effects of discrimination on institutions and individuals, including majority institutions and individuals; supports and develops research designed to eliminate institutional discrimination; and provides increased emphasis on the concerns of special populations in the Institute's training, service delivery, and research programs.

Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS)

The DNBBS supports research programs in the areas of basic neuroscience, genetics, basic behavioral science, research training, resource development, technology development, drug discovery, and research dissemination. In cooperation with other components of the Institute and the research community, the division has the responsibility of ensuring that relevant basic science knowledge is generated and then harvested improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and behavioral disorders.

Office of Cross-Cutting Science and Scientific Technology

This office provides the programmatic lead on numerous scientific activities that cut across divisions, NIH institutes and centers, and agencies. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following: NIMH Small Business Research Program coordination; NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research; NIH BISTIC (Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative Consortium); NIH BECON (BioEngineering CONsortium); NIH Nano Task Force; and the United States-European Commission Task Force on Biotechnology. In addition, the office coordinates NIMH involvement in several NIH Roadmap initiatives (Interdisciplinary Research, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and Nanomedicine). The office also supports research and development of scientific technologies related to brain and behavioral research, including software (such as informatics tools and resources), hardware (such as devices and instrumentation), and wetware (such as novel genetic methods or bioactive and molecular imaging agents).

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

The SBIR Program supports research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or provide significant societal benefit. In the DNBBS, the SBIR and STTR programs support research and the development of tools related to basic brain and behavioral science, genetics, and drug discovery and development relevant to the mission of NIMH.

Office of Research Training and Career Development

This office supports research training at the pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and early investigator level of career development in basic neuroscience, basic behavioral science, and other areas relevant to the focus of the DNBBS. The office's primary goal is to ensure that sufficient, highly trained research investigators will be available to address basic and clinical research questions pertinent to mental health and mental illness and thereby to reduce the burden of mental and behavioral disorders.

Genomics Research Branch (formerly the Office of Human Genetics and Genetic Resources)

The Genomics Research Branch plans, supports, and administers programs of research including the identification, localization, and function of genes and other genomic elements that produce susceptibility to mental disorders. Research projects use genetic epidemiological methods, population-based sampling; longitudinal cohort and extended-family study designs; and genomic approaches to identify genetic, biological, and environmental risk factors and biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, drug efficacy, and pharmacogenomics of mental disorders. The branch also supports the creation and distribution of research resources, including the development of novel statistical and bioinformatics tools and the NIMH Human Genetics Initiative, a repository of DNA extracted from blood and immortalized cell lines and associated clinical information for use in genetic studies of mental disorders.

Molecular, Cellular, and Genomic Neuroscience Research Branch

This branch plans and administers research programs that elucidate the genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms underlying brain development, neuronal signaling, synaptic plasticity, circadian rhythmicity, and the influence of hormones and immune molecules on brain function. Other supported activities include drug discovery, identification of novel drug targets, development of functional imaging ligands, development of imaging probes as potential biomarkers, testing of models for assessing novel therapeutics, and studies of mechanisms of action of therapeutics in animals and humans.

Behavioral Science and Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch

This branch supports innovative research—including empirical, theoretical, and modeling approaches—on cognitive, affective, social, motivational, and regulatory systems and their development across the lifespan in humans, in nonhuman primates, and in other animals. Relevant reduced and model systems approaches are also supported. Basic research in these areas provides a foundation for new insights into the nature and origins of mental and behavioral disorders and for the development of improved treatment and prevention interventions.

Molecular Libraries and Imaging Roadmap Program

This program provides infrastructure support and coordination for the NIH Roadmap Molecular Libraries Screening Centers Network and for related technology development projects. The program supports research on biological assay implementation, high-throughput screening to identify active compounds, synthetic chemistry and probe development, and informatics.

Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development (DATR)

The DATR supports programs aimed at understanding the pathophysiology of adult and late-life mental illness and hastening the translation of behavioral science and neuroscience advances into innovations in clinical care. The division supports a broad research portfolio, which includes studies of the phenotypic characterization and risk factors for major psychiatric disorders; clinical neuroscience to elucidate etiology and pathophysiology of these disorders; and psychosocial, psychopharmacologic, and somatic treatment development. The division includes the following programs and branches:

SBIR and STTR Programs

The SBIR program supports research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or to provide significant societal benefits; the STTR program has the same objectives but requires academic research involvement. In the DATR, the SBIR and STTR programs support research aimed at facilitating the validation and commercialization of new methods of assessing psychopathology, measuring treatment response to therapeutic agents or approaches, and the clinical development of novel psychopharmacological or psychosocial approaches to the treatment of adult and late life mental illness.

Research Training and Career Development Program

This program supports research training at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and early-investigator levels of career development in areas relevant to the DATR. These areas include adult psychopathology and psychosocial interventions, clinical neuroscience, geriatrics, translational research focusing on adults, and experimental therapeutics and treatment mechanisms related to mental illness. The program's primary goal is to ensure that sufficient numbers of highly trained, independent investigators will be available to address the complexities of adult psychopathology and translational research.

Traumatic Stress Research Program

This program is the DATR/NIMH point of contact for disaster/terrorism/biodefense-related research, supporting studies on biopsychosocial risk/protective factors for psychopathology after traumatic events and on interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. The program also oversees research spanning and integrating basic science, clinical practice, and health care system factors, including interventions and service delivery, regarding the effects of mass trauma and violence (e.g., war, terrorism, and natural and technological disaster) on children, adolescents, and adults.

Adult Psychopathology and Psychosocial Intervention Research Branch

This branch promotes translational research that is directed toward an understanding of how the development, onset, and course of adult psychopathology may be studied in terms of dysfunction in fundamental biobehavioral mechanisms such as emotion, cognition, motivational processes, and interpersonal relationships. The branch emphasizes studies that combine approaches from neuroscience and behavioral science to elucidate the role of psychosocial factors in the alterations of brain functioning associated with mental disorders and to produce integrative models of risk, disorder, and recovery.

Clinical Neuroscience Research Branch

This branch supports research, training, and resource development programs aimed at understanding the neural basis of mental disorders. Specifically supported are human and animal studies on the molecular, cellular, and systems level of brain function designed to elucidate the pathophysiology of mental disease and to translate these findings to clinical diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies.

Geriatrics Research Branch

This branch supports research in the etiology and pathophysiology of mental disorders of late life (such as Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, neuroregulatory and hemostatic disorders, and menstrual cycle disorders), the treatment and recovery of persons with these disorders, and the prevention of these disorders and their consequences. The program encourages collaborative multidisciplinary research programs using the tools of molecular neuroscience, cognitive sciences, and social and behavioral sciences to facilitate the translation of basic science and preclinical research to clinical research.

Experimental Therapeutics Branch

This branch supports multidisciplinary research and resource development on novel pharmacological approaches to treat mental disorders, evaluation of existing treatments for new clinical uses, novel somatic treatments, and other areas related to treatment. The branch also engages in cross-Institute activities to identify specific bottlenecks in the development of novel treatments for mental disorders and collaborates with academic, industry, and regulatory agencies to develop programmatic approaches to hasten the availability of better treatments to reduce the burden of mental illness.

Division of Developmental Translational Research (DDTR)
formerly the Division of Pediatric Translational Research and Treatment Development

The DDTR supports programs of research and research training with the ultimate goal of preventing and curing childhood psychopathology. The division stimulates and promotes an integrated program of research across basic behavioral/psychological processes, environmental processes, brain development, pediatric psychopathology and therapeutic interventions. DDTR also supports research that employs a developmental perspective on a variety of related basic behavioral processes and the psychopathology that arises from their dysfunction. These efforts to translate knowledge from basic research to a new understanding of clinical disorders share the goal of developing novel treatment and prevention strategies. The division includes the following programs and branches:

SBIR and STTR Programs

The SBIR program supports research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or to provide significant societal benefits. The STTR program has the same objectives but requires academic research involvement. In the DDTR, the SBIR and STTR programs support research aimed at the development and validation of new methods and techniques to advance understanding, prevention, and treatment of child psychopathology.

Research Training and Career Development Program

This program supports research training at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and early investigator level of career development in areas relevant to the DDTR, such as neurodevelopmental disorders, psychosocial stress, and affective and regulatory disorders. The program's primary goal is to ensure that sufficient numbers of highly trained, independent investigators will be available to address the complexities of developmental psychopathology.

Child Abuse and Neglect Program

This program supports research in child abuse and neglect, a subject worthy of special attention in NIMH because of the profound impact that abuse and neglect have on children's immediate and long-term mental health. This program emphasizes research that helps identify risk and protective factors that influence the development of psychopathology, aims to develop novel treatment and prevention strategies, and addresses familial aspects of traumatic stress as risk factors for psychopathology in children and adolescents.

Autism STAART Centers

NIMH supports interdisciplinary research centers through an NIH cooperative agreement in the Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) Program, in cooperation with 4 other components of NIH—the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. By evaluating and treating patients, as well as enrolling them in clinical trials, each center helps to expand the research base on the causes, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, and treatment of autism.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders Branch

This branch supports research of childhood psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autistic spectrum disorders, as well as development of more effective prevention and treatment strategies for these disorders. The branch also funds research on human neurodevelopment and on basic biobehavioral processes involved in these disorders, such as attentional and perceptual processing, executive function, inhibitory controls (e.g., sensory gating), social cognition and communication, and affiliative behaviors.

Psychosocial Stress and Related Disorders Branch

This branch supports research leading to a fuller understanding of pathological conditions in childhood and adolescence such as oppositional defiant disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and pathological shyness, as well as the development of more effective prevention and treatment strategies. In addition, the branch sponsors research on aggression, fear, inhibitory controls, learning, memory, caregiver-child relationships, the effects of acute and chronic stress, and other related issues.

Affective and Regulatory Disorders Branch

This branch provides support to research on pathological conditions in childhood and adolescence such as eating disorders, sleep disorders, major depressive disorder, dysthymia, suicide attempt and completion, and bipolar disorder, as well as on the development of more effective prevention and treatment strategies. The branch also funds research on biobehavioral processes, including emotion and mood regulation, feeding and appetite regulation, circadian rhythms, and developmental changes in neurobehavioral regulation (such as CNS maturation and neuroendocrine development), as well as environmental influences that have implications for risk or resilience, susceptibility to disorder, or strategies for preventing or treating disorders.

Division of AIDS Health and Behavior Research (DAHBR)

The DAHBR supports research programs that focus on developing and disseminating behavioral interventions that prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, clarifying the pathophysiology and alleviating the neuropsychiatric consequences of HIV/AIDS infection, and using a public health model to reduce the burden of mental illness from medical co-morbidities, non-adherence to treatment, societal stigma, health disparities, and unhealthy behaviors. The division includes the following programs and branches:

SBIR and STTR Programs

The SBIR program supports research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or to provide significant societal benefits. The STTR program has the same objectives but requires academic research involvement. In the DAHBR, the SBIR and STTR programs support research aimed at changing risky behaviors, promoting strategies to reduce AIDS transmission, elucidating the pathophysiology of HIV-related neuropsychiatric dysfunction, and investigating processes that influence adherence to treatment in individuals with HIV.

Research Training and Career Development Program

This program supports research training at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and early-investigator level of career development in areas relevant to the DAHBR, such as research on treatment adherence and behavior change in patients with mental disorders. The program's primary goal is to ensure that sufficient numbers of highly trained independent investigators will be available to address the complexities of health behaviors involved in mental illness.

Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS

This center supports domestic and international studies to develop behavior change and prevention strategies to reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. To accomplish this goal, the center oversees research in developing and testing interventions to reduce the neuropsychiatric morbidity associated with HIV infection, clarifying the pathophysiology of HIV infection of the central nervous system (CNS) and associated motor/cognitive disturbances, developing therapeutic agents to prevent or reverse the effects of HIV on the CNS, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of mental health services relevant to HIV infection and people living with HIV and co-occurring mental illness, and other related areas.

Health and Behavioral Research Branch

This branch supports research on a range of health behaviors in people with mental disorders, such as identifying potent, modifiable risk and protective factors for mental disorders that may guide the development and initial testing of theory-driven interventions. Interventions may comprise prevention, treatment, or rehabilitation and include biological, pharmacological, behavioral, psychosocial, or environmental components. Examples of supported research areas include adherence to interventions for mental disorders, ethics in mental disorders research, and functional assessment in people with mental disorders.

Division on Services and Intervention Research (DSIR)

The DSIR supports 2 critical areas of research: intervention research to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic, psychosocial (psychotherapeutic and behavioral), somatic, rehabilitative, and combination interventions on mental and behavior disorders; and mental health services research on organization, delivery (process and receipt of care), related health economics, delivery settings, clinical epidemiology, and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions into service settings. The division also provides biostatistical analysis and clinical trials operations expertise for research studies; analyzes and evaluates national mental health needs and community research partnership opportunities; and supports research on health disparities. The division includes the following programs and branches:

SBIR and STTR Programs

The SBIR program supports research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or to provide significant societal benefits. The STTR program has the same objectives but requires academic research involvement. In the DSIR, the SBIR and STTR programs support research and development of tools related to clinical trials (including preventive, treatment, and rehabilitative interventions alone or in combination), clinical epidemiology, services research, effectiveness research, health disparities (including rural populations), and the dissemination of evidence-based treatments and research into services and clinical practice in areas directly related to the mission of NIMH.

Office of Research Training and Career Development

This office supports research training at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and early-investigator levels of career development in areas relevant to the DSIR. Areas of emphasis include research related to clinical trials (including preventive, treatment, and rehabilitative interventions alone or in combination) and adapting interventions and demonstrating their utility in broad populations (e.g., ethnic and racial groups, co-morbid disorders) for various service settings (e.g., primary care, schools, public sector). The office's primary goal is to ensure that sufficient, highly trained research investigators will be available to address interventions and services research questions pertinent to mental health and mental illness and thereby to reduce the burden of mental and behavioral disorders.

Clinical Trials Operations and Biostatistics Unit

This unit serves as the operations focal point for collaborative clinical trials on mental disorders in adults and children. The unit is responsible for overseeing both contract-supported and cooperative agreement-supported multisite clinical trial protocols, as well as special projects undertaken by NIMH. In addition, the unit manages over-arching matters related to clinical trials operations, such as the coordination of the ancillary protocols across the large trials and the implementation of NIMH policy for dissemination of public access datasets. The unit also consults Institute staff and grantees/contractors on biostatistical matters related to appropriateness of study design, determination of power and sample size, and approaches to statistical analysis of data from NIMH-supported clinical trials.

Adult Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch

This branch supports research evaluating therapeutic (acute, maintenance, and preventive) and adverse effects of psychosocial, psychopharmacologic, and somatic interventions of proven efficacy in the treatment of mental disorders in adult populations. For example, the branch has administered trials evaluating modified or adapted forms of interventions for use with special populations (such as women, or specific ethnic or racial groups), in new settings (public sector, primary care, workplace, other non-academic sites), through new methods of treatment delivery (e.g., web or computer-based). Studies look beyond symptom reduction to include short- and long-term assessment of functioning and other outcome measures that can help identify disorder subgroups more likely to benefit from treatment, to determine the optimal length of treatment, and to evaluate the long-term impact of interventions.

Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch

This branch plans, supports, and administers research programs to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health preventive, treatment, and rehabilitative interventions (alone or in combination) for children and adolescents. The branch also supports research addressing the long-term effectiveness of known successful interventions, including their role in preventing relapse and recurrence of mental disorders. Types of intervention research supported by the branch include the full range of behavioral, psychotherapeutic, pharmacologic, and non-pharmacologic somatic or complementary/alternative approaches for which acute efficacy has been demonstrated, as well as rehabilitation or other adjunctive interventions.

Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch

This branch administers programs of research, training, and infrastructure development, across the lifespan, on all mental health services research issues, including but not limited to: services organization, delivery (process and receipt of care), and related health economics at the individual, clinical, program, community, and systems levels in specialty mental health, general health, and other delivery settings (such as the workplace); interventions to improve the quality and outcomes of care, including diagnostic, treatment, preventive, and rehabilitation services; enhanced capacity for conducting services research; clinical epidemiology of mental disorders across all clinical and service settings; and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions into service settings.

Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)

The DEA provides leadership and advice in developing, implementing, and coordinating extramural programs and policies; represents the Institute on extramural program and policy issues within HHS and with outside organizations; provides scientific and technical peer and objective review of applications for grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts; provides information and guidelines for grant applications; oversees National Advisory Mental Health Council activities and provides committee management services.

Division of Intramural Research Programs (DIRP)

The DIRP is the internal research division of the NIMH. Intramural scientists conduct research ranging from studies into mechanisms of normal brain function—conducted at the behavioral, systems, cellular, and molecular levels—to clinical investigations into the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. Major disease entities studied throughout the lifespan include mood disorders and anxiety, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. Because of its outstanding resources, unique funding mechanisms, and location in the nation's capital, the DIRP is viewed as a national resource, providing unique opportunities in mental health research and research training.

This page was last reviewed on January 8, 2008 .
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