Clinical research studies and clinical trials have play a vital role in finding new and effective treatments. When you participate in a clinical research study aimed at treating mental illness, you are helping in finding better ways to prevent, detect or treat mental health conditions. You may receive free treatment or therapy and even be paid for your participation.  Read more about clinical research and current opportunities in the Bay Area.


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About Mental Health Clinical Research and Studies

What is clinical research?

Clinical research refers to studies in which people participate as patients or volunteers. Different terms are used to describe clinical research, including clinical studies, clinical trials, studies, research, trials, and protocols. Clinical research may have a number of goals, such as developing new treatments or medications, identifying causes of illness, studying trends, or evaluating ways in which genetics may be related to an illness. The study volunteers can be people with diagnosed mental illness or healthy participants with no history of mental illness.

Strict rules for clinical studies have been put in place by NIH and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some studies involve promising new treatments that may directly benefit participants. Others do not directly benefit participants, but may help scientists learn better ways to help people.

For more information refer to NIH Publication No. 08-4379

Why Participate in Clinical Research?

Clinical research studies and clinical trials have play a vital role in finding new and effective treatments. When you participate in a clinical research study aimed at treating mental illness, you are helping in finding better ways to prevent, detect or treat mental health conditions.

Being part of clinical research gives you access to latest treatment options, medical examinations under the careful supervision of physicians and research team who are experts in that particular area of medicine. Some of the studies may also provide compensation for time and travel to the study to the research volunteers. Be aware that participating in the study does not ensure that you will receive the latest treatment. You could be part of the placebo group, or there may be unfavorable side-effects. However, since you are under the care of a dedicated team, you will be educated and quickly treated if there are any undesirable side-effects.

Choosing to take part in clinical research is an important personal decision. Your decision to participate will depend on your interests, needs, and expectations about research.

Confidentiality is an important part of clinical research and ensures that personal information is seen only by those authorized to have access. It also means that the personal identity and all medical information of clinical trial participants is known only to the individual patient and researchers. Results from a study will usually be presented only in terms of trends or overall findings and will not mention specific participants.

People sometimes think that participating in a study will require changes to their current treatment, but this is not always the case. Though some studies may require participants to try new medications or treatments, other studies use techniques such as brain scans, psychological tests, behavioral observation, or blood tests for genetic evaluation. Such studies may not require any change in treatment.
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Where to find Clinical Research in the San Francisco Bay Area

There are many opportunities to participate in clinical research in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the studies may also offer some compensation for participation. Below are links to some of the schools and institutions that have current clinical trials that are open and seeking volunteers.

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 List of Current Research Studies

Want to know how clinical research trials work?  The attached flyer from the National Institute of Mental Health lists questions and answers about these trials.

C19 Daily Diary Study Image

Research Study – COVID-19 and Your Mental Health

Has your mental well-being been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Researchers at Case Western Reserve University want to hear about YOUR experiences in a 2 week daily survey that will take you 10-15 minutes a day. To learn more, see COVID-19 Daily Diary Research Study To view the consent form and participate in the study,…

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Motivational Interviewing for Loved Ones Research Study

Motivational Interviewing (“MI”) is a communication style that health professionals use to talk with patients about making healthy changes like reducing drug and alcohol use, taking medications regularly, or other lifestyle improvements. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA are conducting research to see if parents and other loved ones can benefit…

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Research Study – Early Adulthood Trauma and the Brain

The Neuroimaging of Trauma (NeT) study uses neuroimaging to understand more about how exposure to traumatic experiences in early adulthood affects the brain. Participants will be asked to come to the San Francisco VA Medical Center for several research tests, including a psychological interview, blood tests, and an MRI of the brain on 4 separate…

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Research Study – Mental Health and Political Engagement

The goal of this study is to understand the relationship between mental health and political engagement. It will examine factors such as access barriers to activism, accommodations, and exclusion from political communities due to health-related experiences and identities. Participants will take an initial screener survey with a total participation time of 10-20 minutes. Participants may…

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Research Study – Impact of COVID-19 on OCD Symptoms and Parenting

Was your family impacted by the coronavirus? Are you or your child struggling with anxiety or depression about the coronavirus or social distancing? Help CWRU researchers learn more about the impact of the coronavirus on children, parents, and families. If you have a child ages 7-17 and have been impacted by the coronavirus, please fill…

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Research Study – COVID Impacts Global Impacts

The Collaborative Outcomes Study on Health and Functioning during Infection Times (COH-FIT) is an anonymous online survey about your experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the study is to investigate how the pandemic is affecting the physical and mental health of individuals in countries around the world. The aim is to identify risk…

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NAMI Research Study – Attention and Mental Health

This study is an anonymous online survey that will be used to learn more about how mental health conditions like anxiety and depression may affect a person’s ability to pay attention and think clearly.  Participants who complete the survey and interactive activity will receive a $10 gift card in appreciation for their time. Participants may be…

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Paid Study – Psychosis and Trauma

Researchers are looking for adults who have experienced psychoses to participate in a study to learn how traumatic events may contribute to developing psychosis, and how experiencing psychosis may cause trauma.  Participants will take an anonymous online survey and may have a follow-up telephone interview. Requirements: Aged 18 or older Have experienced psychosis, with or…

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Stress and Resilience Study

Paid UCSF Study – Improve Your Response to Stress

Researchers at UCSF are looking for women ages 30-60 to participate in the Stress and Resilience Study, to examine how you can improve your response to stress. PRACTICE DAILY BREATHING TECHNIQUES ATTEND TWO 2.5 HOUR IN-PERSON VISITS AT UCSF RESPOND TO DAILY PROMPTS EARN UP TO $470 + A CHANCE TO WIN A $200 AMAZON…

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Stanford Study – Mood Disorders in Youth Taking Antidepressents

Stanford’s  Pediatric Emotional an Resilience Lab (PEARL) is currently seeking youth ages 12-17 years who experience anxiety and/or depression and have family members living with serious mood symptoms to participate in the Arousal Induced Medication Study (AIMS).  Antidepressants are commonly prescribed medications used by American youth today to treat a variety of childhood onset psychiatric…

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Study of New Drug on Schizophrenia Symptoms

Enlighten Early is a study for a new drug to see if it can resolve mood symptoms and problems with thinking without causing weight gain. This 20-week study is a chance to become involved in research on a new investigational drug being studied to determine if it helps limit weight gain while treating symptoms of…

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Stanford Study – Improving Cognition Via Exercise in Schizophrenia

Improving Cognition Via Exercise (ICE) is a research study on the influence of exercise on cognitive functioning in individuals with schizophrenia.  Participants will be paid up to $260 including travel expenses and will be randomized into one of two groups, aerobic exercise training or stretching and toning training. Participants in both groups will take part…

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Stanford MOBILITY Study for Overweight Children and Teens

MOBILITY is a study on healthy lifestyle and a diabetes drug for children & teens: who have ever had a mood disorder are overweight are taking pr starting to tale a 2nd-generation antipsychotic To learn more, visit; email or follow on Twitter @MOBILITY_Trial.  Also see brochure.

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Stanford Teen Brain Study

Ever Wonder What Your Teenager’s Brain Looks Like?  Stanford’s Pediatric Emotion And Resilience Lab (PEARL) is looking for health teens ages 12-17 and parents to contribute to science.  Eligible teens will be paid $100 for participation.  Contact Kayla at 650-497-4668 or   For more information, see brochure.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Teen Study

Interested in a non-medication alternative to treating your child’s depression? Our program is collaborating with Stanford’s Depression Research Clinic to conduct Stanford’s first ever trial using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in 12-21-year-old youth with depression. Contact Jessica Hawkins at (650) 723-8323 for more details.   For more information, see brochure.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Adult Study

A new treatment for depression involves stimulating the brain with an electromagnet placed on the scalp that rapidly turns on and off. This treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Contact Jessica Hawkins at (650) 723-8323 for more details.   If you have been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression and are interested in participating, please fill out…

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Paid Research Study – Stanford Study of Adults 18-65 years with OCD

The Stanford Translational OCD Research Program is looking for adults 18-65 years old with OCD to take part in a study providing these possible benefits: Free diagnostic evaluation Free test of your memory and attention Compensation up to $400 after study completion Your choice of free OCD psychotherapy or pharmacology after study completion . To…

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Mental health challenges are a growing concern for employers worldwide.

Executive Summary The Problem Mental health challenges are a growing concern for employers worldwide. Increasing Prevalence Global rates of depression and anxiety have increased 15 percent to 20 percent during the last decade.1 Rising Costs The World Economic Forum projects that mental health disorders will cost nations $16.3 trillion between 2011 and 2030, which represents…

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Paid UCSF Study: For Adolescents Ages 12-18 years with Anorexia Nervosa

A research study conducted by UCSF for adolescents with anorexia and their families. The participants will receive free evidence-based FTP treatment and $50 on completion of the study. Flyer Who can participate? Adolescents ages 12 -18 Current Diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa Able to speak English Living with at least one parent Medically stable for outpatient treatment…

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Paid Stanford Study – For Adults having Bipolar Disorder

This study is looking at the effects of suvorexant (belsomra) an insomnia medication that is currently FDA approved and how it interacts/helps people with Bipolar Disorder who are suffering from insomnia. This study can be found on under the identifier NCT02527564. Participants can earn up to $175 for completing 6 study visits over the…

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Paid Research Study – For Individuals Age 18-55 with Schizophrenia

Yoon Lab, a VA-Stanford joint lab researching schizophrenia and psychosis is looking for individuals between the ages of 18 and 55 to participate in a paid research study seeking to discover the brain changes associated with schizophrenia. The Yoon Lab seeks to discover the brain mechanisms responsible for several types of mental illness and to…

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Paid Stanford Study – Adolescent Depression and Stress

Stanford Neurodevelopment, Affect, and Psychopathology Lab (SNAP Lab) is conducting paid research studies that is looking into the biological link between stress and depression in teenagers. If your child is between ages 13-17 years and experiencing sad or irritable moods, lost interest in activities, they may eligible for this study. *** update: only teenage boys…

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Stanford Study – For Children of Parents with Bipolar Disorder

Are you a parent with a diagnosis of Bipolar and have concerns about your child’s moods and their functioning at home & school? You and your child may be eligible to participate in a study conducted by Stanford Pediatric Emotional And Resilience Lab. For more information, Call Yvonne, at 650-497-4668 or fill out our survey HERE…

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Stanford Study – For Treatment-Resistant Depression

The Stanford University Brain Stimulation Lab & Depression Research Clinic are recruiting patients with treatment-resistant depression. Current Research studies include : Use of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Augment Hypnotic Analgesia: If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are interested in participating, please fill out our quick survey to see if you qualify (only…

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