Recommendation: The National Institutes of Health, with input from other funders of prevention research, should develop a comprehensive 10-year research plan targeting the promotion of mental health and prevention of both single and comorbid MEB disorders. This plan should consider current needs, opportunities for cross-disciplinary and multi-institute research, support for the necessary research infrastructure, and establishment of a mechanism for assessing and reporting progress against 10-year goals. (13-5)

Continued investment in research can lead to interventions that will mitigate risks and strengthen protective factors prior to the onset of disorders and that will help to set young people on an appropriate developmental course. Substantial evidence has shown that the incidence of many disorders and problem behaviors can be reduced significantly, thereby justifying the need for dedicated efforts to refine these approaches.

Recommendation: Research funders1 should establish parity between research on preventive interventions and treatment interventions. (13-4)

The report makes a number of specific recommendations aimed at identifying areas of focus for future research in a 10-year plan that will inform future federal, state, and local initiatives (see Box S-4). The following focus areas should serve as the research priorities for both federal agencies and foundations, and they should stimulate prevention partnerships:

  • Approaches to screening in conjunction with intervention. Screening can take place at multiple levels, including the level of the population to identify communities at risk (e.g., high-poverty neighborhoods), the level of groups to identify those at risk (e.g., children with depressed parents), and the level of individuals to identify those who have either behavioral symptoms or biological markers indicating the likelihood of developing a disorder (e.g., young children who exhibit highly aggressive behavior). However, screening without community acceptance and sufficient service capacity to respond to identified needs is of limited value. Models are needed that partner screening with implementation of evidence-based interventions.

  • Implementation. Implementation has only recently been identified as an area of research in its own right. The effectiveness of state

1

The term “research funders” is used throughout the recommendations to refer to federal agencies and foundations that fund research on mental health promotion or prevention of MEB disorders.



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