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APA Responds to NIMH Draft Strategic Plan

In November, 2007, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) released a draft version of a strategic plan that is intended to guide its research funding over the next 3-5 years.

In November, 2007, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) released a draft version of a strategic plan that is intended to guide its research funding over the next 3-5 years. The draft plan is organized around four strategic objectives:

  • Promote discovery in the brain and behavioral sciences to fuel research on the causes of mental disorders.

  • Chart mental illness trajectories to determine, when, where and how to intervene.

  • Develop new and better interventions that incorporate the diverse needs and circumstances of people with mental illnesses.

Strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research.
Responding to NIMH’s invitation for public comment on the draft, the APA Science Directorate submitted a letter that integrated the concerns of a wide range of individual members and governance groups of APA. Among the points made in the letter are that NIMH should provide more comprehensive support for behavioral and social science research (both basic and translational) and should develop mechanisms to ensure that innovative and risky research continues to be funded. The letter also noted research areas that deserve greater attention in the plan, including studies of aging populations and of the effects of trauma and violence. The full letter is available on the APA website.

NIMH plans to issue the final version of the plan in the spring of 2008 (check www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports). APA’s Science Government Relations staff will continue to monitor developments at NIMH and advocate for support of the full range of psychological research that contributes to the prevention and treatment of mental disorders.