July 15, 2020

Mental health research

With more than 600 publications since 2007, our mental health research has made important contributions to understanding risk and improving patient outcomes.

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 U.S. 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 10th leading cause of death in 2014, accounting for nearly 43,000 deaths in the U.S.1,3


Publications related to mental health since 2007

745 Journal Articles, 24.8K Citations (a), 66 Practice Guideline References (b), 59 Clinical Decision Aid References (c)

Source: Kaiser Permanente Publications Library and PLUM metrics, as of January 8, 2020.

a. Number of citing journal articles, according to Scopus.
b. Number of references in PubMed guidelines.
c. Citations in DynaMed Plus, a point-of-care clinical reference tool.

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 750 articles related to mental health conditions since 2007; together, these articles have been cited nearly 25,000 times.4 These articles are the product of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists. Our unique environment — a fully integrated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — lets us contribute generalizable knowledge about mental health, and many other topics of research.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn About Mental Health. 2018; https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm. Accessed 28 February, 2018.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Mental and Substance Use Disorders. 2017; https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders. Accessed March 28, 2018.
  3. Kochanek K, Murphy S, Xu J, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final data for 2014. Vol 65. Hyattsville, MD: National Vital Statistics Reports; Vol 65, No 4; 2016.
  4. Kaiser Permanente Publications Library (KPPL) Search Strategy. Search conducted 8 January 2020 using search term: (dc. title:antidepress* OR dc.title:anxiety OR dc.title:depress* OR dc.title:”mental disorder” OR dc.title:”mental disorders” OR dc.title:”mental health” OR dc.title:”mental illness” OR dc.title:”mental illnesses” OR dc.title:”mentally ill” OR dc.title:mood OR dc.title:psychotic OR dc.title:psychosis OR dc.title:PTSD OR dc.title:schizophren* OR dc.title:”stress disorder” OR dc.title:”stress disorders” OR dc.subject.mesh:”affective disorders” OR dc.subject.mesh:antidepress* OR dc.subject.mesh:anxiety OR dc.subject. mesh:”bipolar disorder” OR dc.subject.mesh:”depression” OR dc.subject.mesh:”depressive” OR dc.subject.mesh:”dysphoric disorder” OR dc.subject.mesh:”dysthymic disorder” OR dc.subject.mesh:”mental disorders” OR dc.subject.mesh:”mental health” OR dc.subject.mesh:”mood disorders” OR dc.subject.mesh:paranoid OR dc.subject.mesh:psychotic OR dc.subject. mesh:schizophren* OR dc.subject.mesh:”stress disorders” OR dc.subject.mesh:”stress, psychological”) AND (dc.type:”Journal Article”) AND (dc.date.issued:[2007 2020]).