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Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):783-91. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.3.783.

Improving mental health treatments through comparative effectiveness research.

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  • 1National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


There is a pressing need for comparative effectiveness research to improve mental health treatments. Although U.S. mental health spending has increased dramatically, mainly because of the rapid adoption of newer psychotropic medications, fewer than a quarter of people with serious mental illnesses receive appropriate care. Because of a general lack of information on the relative effectiveness of different treatments, payers are uncertain about the value of current spending, which in turn may deter new investments to reduce unmet need. We use several recent comparative effectiveness trials to illustrate the potential value of such research for improving practice and policy.

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