National Institute of Mental Health currently has a broad range of research fields from biology, to clinical medicine and to administrative science for promoting effective policy making in national mental health care. It is composed of 11 departments and Center for Suicide Prevention. The duty on education of mental health professionals has been continued and intensified to propagate appropriate and the latest information of each field.
The institute was established in 1952 to improve mental health of general population through comprehensive and integrative research in psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social welfare and community health service, as well as the education of mental health professionals. In October 1986, it was merged into National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry so as to make more effective contribution to the public mental health. There are several departments in the institute in which the Department of Mental Health Policy and Evaluation was established in October 1986 to engage in research for mental health policies. The role of this department is three-fold; 1) observing and assessing the present state of mental health and welfare and the effectiveness of related policies (monitoring research), 2) providing research methods and conducting collaborative empirical studies related to clinical psychiatry with those in the field (clinical epidemiological research), and 3) collecting and analyzing information with the aim to formulate solutions for key issues in mental health and welfare practices (policy studies). The Department of Neuropsychopharmacology carries out research into problems concerning the various mental disorders in the rapidly aging society of Japan. Especially, depression, adjustment disorders and suicide are focused in the department.