Topic Spotlight

Mental and Behavioral Health

PCORI Answers Critical Questions

PCORI funds studies to help patients and those who care for them answer a range of questions about mental health, such as:

Clinician: I have patients with both medical and behavioral problems. Would integrating a psychologist or social worker into my clinic staff improve patients’ quality of life more than providing patients with access to an offsite specialist would?

Caregiver: How might working with a peer coach or counselor in addition to our pediatrician help achieve the best possible care for my child’s mood and behavior problems?

Care Manager: I work with patients who have untreated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or bipolar disorder and live in rural areas. Would adding a telehealth component to my patients’ primary care improve their mental health more than virtual care on its own?

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Antipsychotic Treatment for Children with Hyperactivity or Disruptive Disorders

Clinicians often prescribe antipsychotics for children and adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. New evidence shows the benefits of antipsychotic treatment may be modest and the harms may be significant.

Peer Trauma Groups Help Reduce PTSD Symptoms

This study wanted to know whether peer-led trauma treatment groups were as successful as those led by clinicians at helping participants decrease substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms while improving coping skills and mental and physical health. It determined that people in both groups reported fewer PTSD symptoms and alcohol and substance cravings as well as better mental health after attending the sessions.

Education Program Helps Latino Parents Manage Their Children’s Health Care

Latino children with mental illness are half as likely to get mental health care as non-Latino white children. This study created an education program to teach Latino parents skills to help their children get the mental health care they need. Researchers found that the educational program improved parents’ activation skills as well as their skills for working with their children’s school systems.

Mental and Behavioral Health Study Spotlights

Partnering on Treating Depression

This study finds that community engagement in care improves outcomes for people with depression in low-income areas. The goal was to determine which of two approaches worked better for improving depression care, specifically for people with low incomes from minority groups.

Comparing Treatment Options for Adults with Depression

One in three adults with major depression does not feel better after taking antidepressant medicines. To help them, this study compares electroconvulsive therapy and ketamine, a pain medicine, to see which works best for adults with treatment-resistant depression.

Treating PTSD and Bipolar Disorders in Rural Areas

To help rural patients with PTSD and bipolar disorder improve their quality of life, this study is comparing two telehealth strategies. In one, primary care providers and care managers provide patients with telehealth specialist-prescribed therapies and routine check-ins. In the other, patients have regular video sessions with remote specialists.

Mental and Behavioral Health Portfolio Snapshots

Mental and Behavioral Health Portfolio Snapshot - Subconditions studied - Depression - 38, Substance abuse - 21, Anxiety (including PTSD) - 17, Bipolar disorder - 16, Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders - 11. As of November 2017
Mental and Behavioral Health Portfolio Snapshot - Most studied populations of interest - Racial/ethnic minorities - 72, Low socioeconomic status - 56, women 36, urban - 26, older adults - 26. As of November 2017