Although remarkable progress has been made in defining and treating mental illnesses, some treatments are not effective for all persons or may have significant side effects. Thus, most people who agree to take part in studies of mental illness hope the research will produce knowledge about the disease itself for example, the role of genetics in illness or about treatments that will benefit them directly.

Research may allow you to try a new treatment before it is widely available. Even if the aim of a study is not to test the effectiveness of a new treatment, the research may offer a degree of care that you might not get otherwise. Such care may allow the investigators to monitor your symptoms very closely to be sure of your diagnosis.

Medical, psychological, and behavioral research are our best hope for better understanding of and treatments for mental illnesses. Although most who take part in research hope to benefit themselves, they may also simply wish to help others, which is a reward in itself.