This brief summarizes the contributions of Kaiser Permanente Research since 2007 on the topic of mental health, including depression, anxiety, and other affective and stress disorders.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines mental health conditions as those characterized by alterations in thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior associated with distress or impaired functioning.1 Anxiety disorders and depressive disorders are the first and second most common mental health conditions in the United States.2 The CDC estimates that more than 50% of people in the United States will have a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, and that 1 in 25 people lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.1 Suicide was the 12th leading cause of death in 2020, accounting for nearly 46,000 deaths in the United States.1;3
Mental health is an important area of study for Kaiser Permanente Research. Scientists across the organization have used our rich and comprehensive data to advance knowledge in the areas of understanding risk, improving patient outcomes, and translating research findings into policy and practice. We have published nearly 1,000 articles related to mental health conditions since 2007; together, these articles have been cited almost 35,000 times.4 These articles are the product of observa-tional studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists. Our unique environment — a fully inte-grated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — lets us contribute gen-eralizable knowledge about mental health, and many other research topics.