The United States is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis impacting Americans of all ages. To tackle this crisis, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken bold steps to transform how mental health is understood, accessed, and treated. Under President Biden’s Unity Agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration released a comprehensive mental health strategy and mental health research priorities. These steps aim to make mental health care more affordable and accessible and improve health outcomes for all Americans.  

As a part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy called on government agencies, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and academia to share the actions they are taking to expand and improve mental health research in the United States. These actions address key research priorities and move us closer to a future where every American has access to the best available care when and where they need it.

Government Actions

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund’s Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) Program announced 25 community-led research awards. The ComPASS program provides an unprecedented opportunity for communities to lead innovative intervention projects that study ways to address the underlying structural factors that affect health and health equity. Awards include research focused on addressing stigmatization of behavioral health and services and improving access to behavioral health services in Hispanic, low-income, rural, and LGBTQ+ communities.
  • Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Program for Schizophrenia (AMP SCZ) released its first research data setAMP SCZ 1.0—through a collaboration of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Foundation for NIH, the Food and Drug Administration, and multiple public and private partners. To improve the understanding of schizophrenia and to identify new and better targets for treatment, AMP SCZ established a research network that examines trajectories for people who are at clinical high risk for psychosis. The network also develops psychosis prediction algorithms using biomarkers, clinical data, and existing clinical high risk-related datasets.
  • NIMH’s Individually Measured Phenotypes to Advance Computational Translation in Mental Health program is a new initiative focused on using behavioral measures and computational methods to define novel clinical signatures that can be used for individual-level prediction and clinical decision making in treating mental disorders. As one example of research supported through this initiative, researchers at the University of Washington are applying computational modeling strategies to behavioral data collected through a smartphone app, with the goal of predicting and preventing serious negative outcomes for people who experience hallucinations.
  • NIMH awarded research grants to develop and test innovative psychosocial interventions to prevent suicide. Researchers at San Diego State, one of the grant recipients, are combining an existing intervention—the Safety Planning Intervention—with patient navigator services, and testing the effectiveness of this novel combined intervention in reducing suicide risk among sexual and gender minority youth and young adults.
  • NIMH and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded 11 new studies focused on understanding bidirectional relationships between social media use and adolescent mental illness, psychiatric symptoms, and risk or resilience for psychopathology. Collectively, this research aims to address important questions about the short-term and long-term interactions between social media behavior and youth mental health, as well as the mechanisms contributing to risk and resilience.

Private Sector, Academic, and Non-Profit Actions

  • The University of California, Somos Esenciales, and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are conducting the Supporting Peer Interactions to Expand Access study, which examines digital mental health solutions in resource-limited settings, emphasizing cultural and linguistic inclusivity. This study examines a cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention for depression or anxiety for Latino patients with limited-English proficiency and tests implementation strategies, including support from community peers, to integrate this intervention into primary care.
  • Headspace is launching a participatory research approach to better understand mental health needs. Headspace is partnering with the city of Hartford, Connecticut to provide mental health resources to all Hartford residents including free access to the Headspace app. This public-private partnership is the first of its kind to improve community-wide mental wellness while researching engagement with the Headspace app and the associated mental health outcomes.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) established a Mental and Behavioral Health Awards Program to champion integrated behavioral health (IBH) patient care models.The inaugural funding was awarded to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Texas A&M School of Medicine, and the University of California Davis School of Medicine for their innovative approaches to IBH team training and patient care, as well as their commitment to accessible and equitable whole person care. AAMC will summarize and disseminate lessons learned from these institutions to advance IBH across the health care delivery system.
  • Unity Health Care established the $2.3 million J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s Behavioral Health Development Fund to train the next generation of IBH fellows.This program allows Unity to recruit and train the next generation of mental health providers, with a focus on models of care that expand access, improve outcomes, and drive health equity through IBH. The behavioral health providers work seamlessly with primary care providers to address unmet critical and looming mental health challenges with a culturally congruent approach.
  • The American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists is providing up to $500,000 to study the impact of integrating Board-Certified Psychiatric Pharmacists (BCPPs) into health care teams. BCPPs are advanced practice clinical pharmacists who provide Comprehensive Medication Management within team-based care focusing on medication optimization, evidence-based practices, and patient-centered goals. These research grants fund multiple sites and expand the number and quality of studies involving BCPPs.
  • The Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI), the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and initially three counties in California, are implementing performance-based pilot programs to improve outcomes for people living with serious mental illnesses. These pilots are testing reimbursement for achieving health, housing, and wellbeing outcomes while strengthening the performance management of existing Full Service Partnership (FSP) services. FSP programs intend to be comprehensive services for individuals who are unhoused and who are experiencing severe mental illness.
  • The NIH-funded RAND-USC Schaeffer Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC) is building evidence to guide policy responses to the opioid crisis. RAND and the University of Southern California lead OPTIC, a collaboration of eight research institutions, to create national resources to guide policy responses to the opioid crisis. OPTIC develops and disseminates information on policy effectiveness overall and in diverse, structurally disadvantaged communities, improved tools and methods for assessing policy effects, and strategies for addressing the opioid crisis.
  • Insight is opening a new medical-psychiatric hospital to serve the community disproportionately burdened by the Flint Water Crisis with a $2.5 million grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.The hospital and services are being designed to transform how behavioral health is understood, accessed, treated, and integrated with medical and community services. Research at the hospital will focus on advancing equity in access to behavioral health services, developing treatments for serious illnesses, and supporting youth mental health.
  • RAND and Active Minds are evaluating how Send Silence Packing®, the country’s largest traveling campus-based mental health literacy and suicide prevention exhibit, affects college students’ knowledge, behaviors, and stigma around mental health. Findings will guide scalability, resource allocation and decision-making on college campuses and efforts to optimize peer-informed actions to support student mental health and well-being.
  • The Child Mind Institute (CMI) is leveraging over $150M from partnerships with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the State of California to expand mental health care access for youth in marginalized communities worldwide. CMI utilizes evidence-based, culturally adapted educational resources, provider training, and scalable, innovative, open-source digital technologies for mental health assessment and intervention. The Youth Mental Health Academy recruits a diverse workforce by providing educational and internship experiences to 2,500 high school students from under-represented communities. The Healthy Brain Network openly shares diverse brain and behavior data from >7,000 participants for pediatric mental health and learning research.


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