Mental Health Foundation welcomes new funding for mental health research but calls for a broader and stronger evidence base

Yesterday, the Department of Health announced a five year funding package for NHS and university partnerships that will see an increase of nearly £70 million for mental health research. Funding will be awarded to biomedical research centres across England via the National Institute for Health Research.

Dr Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research for the Mental Health Foundation said:

“Despite the known impact on people’s lives and the economy more widely, mental health research has historically lagged well behind physical health research - to the extent that mental health research only receives 5.8% of total UK health research spending. Against this backdrop, and anxieties about health research funding more broadly in light of Brexit, the government’s announcement of increased funding is extremely welcome. Clearly, there is some way to go before mental health research funding reaches anywhere near parity with funding for physical health problems, but the direction of travel should nevertheless be warmly applauded.

“Our priority alongside securing increased funding for mental health research needs to be ensuring that it is put to the most effective use. Albeit welcome, the increased funding announced is primarily for biomedical research - the search for medical answers to mental health problems. This research needs to be balanced and complemented by social and economic research disciplines that create a broader and stronger mental health evidence base. The Mental Health Foundation is proud of our support for prioritising the voices of people who experience mental health distress in research. We hope that the increased funding announced will resource their involvement in all aspects of mental health research.”