Mental Health Research
Research is essential to expanding our knowledge about brain and psychological functioning in both mental health and mental illness. Knowledge derived from research leads to advances in preventive and therapeutic interventions as well as public policy as they pertain to mental health promotion and mental health problems. Interested students may choose to volunteer to participate as a research subject in one of the many studies on mental health issues conducted through the University of Minnesota.
Choosing To Participate
Participation in research at the University of Minnesota is always voluntary and based on informed consent. Informed consent can only be provided after a researcher explains to the volunteer what procedure or treatment they may receive, whether there are any risks to participation, how the research might benefit them and/or others, and what other options are available if they do not participate. Research at the U of M is approved only after thorough review by the Institutional Review Board including review of the information provided before the volunteer consents. It is the right of a volunteer to stop their participation in any study at any time.
Potential Benefits of Participation
Volunteering to participate as a subject in a research study may or may not have direct benefits for the volunteer. Ultimately, research attempts to answer a question and promote knowledge that will benefit others through better understanding of a mental health issue and promotion of better interventions, treatments, and policies.
However, the individual participant may benefit in several ways including increased knowledge of the research process and/or increased knowledge of themselves. Clinical studies, those trying to answer questions about best treatments, may lead to improvement in a volunteer’s symptoms. However, some of these studies may be designed such that some (typically half) of participants receive an inactive (placebo) treatment to help distinguish what improvements can be reasonably attributed to the treatment being studied. In some clinical studies, everyone receives one of a number of treatments already known to be useful with the goal of distinguishing which of the treatments is most effective. Studies sometimes pay volunteers for their participation or provide treatment at no charge.
Links to Information on Research Participation and Studies Seeking Volunteers at the U of M: