The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of mental health care. In addition, there is increasing evidence of a sudden need for mental and behavioral health care. As a result, there has been a quick expansion of telemental health.
The integration of patient care and clinical research has been a hallmark of the Department of Psychiatry for more than 30 years.
Over the years, there has been an enormous expansion in the overall volume of research in the department and associated research funding—with more than $50 million in research programs last year alone—as well as a gradual shift in funding from pharmaceutical sponsorship to federal and foundation funding. The department has cultivated highly productive clinical and research programs focused on each of the major domains of mental health and psychopathology:
- Pediatric psychiatry
- Bipolar disorder
- Psychotic disorders
- Anxiety and traumatic stress disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Disorders of aging
- Eating disorders
- Women’s mental health
- General hospital psychiatry
Each program is staffed by expert clinical researchers and clinicians working together to care for patients and conduct cutting-edge clinical research. In addition, our neuroscience, neuroimaging and genetic research programs include clinical and translational researchers whose work is informed and motivated by the unmet needs of our patient populations.
This research is making it possible to pinpoint affected areas of the brain; understand inherited risk factors and the role of environmental stress; develop more effective psychotherapies, medications and neurotherapeutic treatments; and ultimately to prevent these illnesses from occurring by intervening early.
Our Research Activities
Pre-clinical and Translational Research
Our neuroscience, neuroimaging and genetic research programs include clinical and translational researchers whose work is informed and motivated by the unmet needs of our patient populations. Our programs include:
- Psychiatric Neuroimaging Division
- Center for Quantitative Health
- Psychiatric & Neurodevelopment Genetics Unit (PNGU)
- Neural Systems Group
- Neurochemistry Laboratory
The model of integrating clinical work and research is evident even in the names of the department’s major programs, such as the “Depression Clinical and Research Program,” the “Bipolar Clinic and Research Program,” and the “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Unit.” Our programs include:
- Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program
- Behavioral Medicine Program
- Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
- Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation
- Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program
- Center for Addiction Medicine
- Center for Law, Brain & Behavior
- Center for Women's Mental Health
- Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness
- Center of Excellence for Psychosocial and Systemic Research
- Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry
- Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory of Sex Differences in the Brain
- Community Psychiatry Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-based Treatments
- Depression Clinical and Research Program
- Division of Neurotherapeutics
- Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program
- Empathy and Relational Science Program
- Epidemiology Research Unit
- Gerontology Research Unit
- Home Base Program
- Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program
- Lurie Center for Autism
- Laboratory of Adult Development
- Laboratory for Youth Behavior
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder and Related Disorders Program
- Neurotherapeutics Program
- Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Research Lab
- Refugee Trauma
- Recovery Research Institute
- Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program
- Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program
Participation in Major National Studies
Clinical researchers in our department have had leadership roles in landmark national studies of the course, genetics and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. This includes a series of federally funded treatment studies begun in the late 1990s and a wide variety of other national programs.
Future of Psychiatry Research at Mass General
The breadth and depth of our psychiatric research continues to grow despite the challenges of an uncertain funding environment. From its roots as a department known for its contributions in consultation-liaison psychiatry and psychopharmacology with little external funding, the Department of Psychiatry now has 60 active research programs and laboratories. In particular, the department has established highly productive research programs in three cross-cutting domains:
- Neuroimaging and neuroscience
- Genetics and genomics
- Clinical trials
- Press Release
- Nov | 3 | 2020
An early resiliency intervention program achieved measurable reductions in depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress among individuals with acute neurologic illness who had been hospitalized in the intensive care unit, and their caregivers.
- Oct | 26 | 2020
Twenty years of research has shown that family dinners are good for the body, the brain and the mental health of kids and their parents. Anne Fishel, PhD, of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at MGHfC, shares how to make the most of family dinners.
- Oct | 26 | 2020
Daphne J. Holt, MD, PhD, teaches coping skills to help with the overwhelming stress on us during the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses how learning resiliency through online training can help us all with our mental health during this stressful time.
- Oct | 26 | 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about universal uncertainty and has been the source of new anxiety and tension for many people. Many report a significant decline in the amount and quality of sleep—the result of poor sleep hygiene, or the habits that help you cultivate a good night’s sleep.
- Oct | 23 | 2020
Celebrating gives people the energy to press on during difficult times, said Joseph Betancourt, MD, vice president and chief equity and inclusion officer, in his introduction to the “Celebration of Unity, Heritage and Mass General Latino/a/x Front Line Staff” event.