The Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to serve as a national laboratory to improve mental health care, includes researchers embedded in 13 health systems in 15 states. This column describes practice changes and effectiveness and exploratory research undertaken by MHRN partners when they found a sustained elevated risk of suicide attempts among patients who reported suicidal ideation on the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Challenges described include finding common ground between what health care systems and funding agencies find compelling, choosing study designs that balance research and clinical tensions, and implementing studies in ways that minimize disruption to health systems. The authors conclude that the greatest benefit to working collaboratively with care system partners is the opportunity to improve care and to simultaneously measure the impact of change.
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