Research is vital to advancing our understanding of mental health and—one day—finding a cure for mental health conditions. Research is the ultimate source of hope for people in recovery and their families.

Scientific research around how the brain works is crucial to understanding early intervention strategies as well as key elements of mental health, including how nutrition, genetics, physical health and medications impact outcomes.

Research is one NAMI's key pillars, in fact one of the core areas of our work is that we advocate for more of it and demand that it get the funding it deserves. We make sure we cover breakthroughs in research in our online and print content, and we even honor one spectacular person every year whose work has broken ground in the field of mental health with our NAMI Scientific research award.

Participating in Research Studies

If you have a mental health condition, taking part in a clinical trial is one way to advance treatment and research for people living today, and in the future. Click here for a current listing of available trials or visit Make sure to familiarize yourself about the protection of research volunteers, too.

Below are some research projects that require the participation of individuals with mental illnesses and, occasionally, their family members. For each of the studies listed below, we have received verification from the lead scientist on the study that an institutional review board (IRB) has approved the study. Nonetheless, if you are interested in participating in one of these studies, make sure that you can answer the following questions for yourself:

  • What is the study about?
  • What will you be asked to do in the study?
  • What risks might you face?
  • Who do you contact with questions, concerns, or problems?
  • How will you be kept informed about the progress and results of the study?

You should feel that you fully understand the project and your role in it before signing an informed consent document. Do not participate in any studies you do not fully understand. Remember that all participation in research is voluntary and is not part of your treatment.