Mental health is gaining acceptance as a medical problem, but progress in finding treatments is being hampered by the stigma surrounding people’s everyday experiences.
Depression causes a greater burden of disability than any other condition, yet it is widely undiagnosed and untreated. In this special collection of articles, Nature asks why that burden is so great, how science is helping and where research is running aground.
Research into depression has struggled, while studies of cancer have thrived — but the balance could be shifting.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the best-studied form of psychotherapy. But researchers are still struggling to understand why it works.
To understand the molecular mechanisms of depression, collect genetic data from more than 100,000 people, says Steven Hyman.
To increase the chances of stumbling on existing drugs that can double as brain treatments, a systematic search is needed, says David Nutt.
Chronic stress can cause depression in some individuals, but leaves others untouched. Engagement of a molecular pathway controlling the production of tiny RNA snippets might help to explain the difference. See Article p.51
Conventional behavioural mouse models of depression are often used to study the disorder, but cannot capture the full picture of the human disease. Here, scientists present two views about the best research strategies to adopt if treatments are to be improved.
From the archive
Clinicians and neuroscientists must work together to understand and improve psychological treatments, urge Emily A. Holmes, Michelle G. Craske and Ann M. Graybiel.
It is time for policy-makers, funders, researchers and clinicians to tackle high suicide rates, say André Aleman and Damiaan Denys.
Deep brain stimulation has shown promise in treating conditions such as Parkinson's disease. Now scientists are using the technology to eavesdrop on problem neural circuits.
Mental-health division will no longer fund research aiming to relieve symptoms without probing underlying causes.
The stigma associated with mental illness discourages investment in finding cures — even though the burden of the disorders on society is immense.
Critics say clinical manual unfit for mental-health research.
Research suggests that mental illnesses lie along a spectrum — but the field's latest diagnostic manual still splits them apart.