UW News

September 1, 2015

UW professor Marsha Linehan to receive National Alliance on Mental Health award

News and Information

Marsha Linehan

Marsha Linehan

University of Washington psychology professor Marsha Linehan has been chosen to receive the 2015 Scientific Research Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The award, given annually since 2005, honors excellence in research for mental illnesses.

Linehan, who is also an adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UW, is the director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, a research center that develops and evaluates new prevention measures and treatments for suicidal behaviors and other disorders. She is the founder of The Linehan Institute, which strives to connect the clinical community with scientifically validated treatments for mental disorders.

A NAMI spokesperson cited Linehan’s accurate research methods and substantial professional contributions for this honor. She created dialectical behavioral therapy, a cognitive behavioral treatment originally developed to treat chronically suicidal people with borderline personality disorders. The approach has since been proven effective in treating a range of other disorders, from substance abuse to depression.

Linehan’s approach to mental health treatment is rigorous in research, NAMI noted, and involves the development of coping skills that support self-management and lead to recovery. Additionally, Linehan has courageously shared her own struggles with mental illness and suicide attempts that informed her groundbreaking work, most notably in a 2011 New York Times story.

Linehan has written three books, served on several professional associations and received numerous awards for her work. She is the first recipient of the NAMI award who is not an M.D. Linehan will be honored by NAMI at a reception Oct. 8 in Washington, D.C.