Research strategy and approach

As part of our five-year organisational strategy, we have produced our research strategy and standpoint papers.

Download our full research strategy (PDF)

These recent documents build on a legacy of work which spans six decades. The Mental Health Foundation's charitable objectives, which were developed when we were founded in 1949, underpin our research activities until this day.

Our research is based on five key pillars:

1. Research-based knowledge production

We will:

  • deliver high-quality research in line with the Foundation’s ethos
  • provide leadership in setting the agenda in public mental health research
  • pro-actively influence the funding agenda in order to make research relevant, available and accessible to marginalised and less powerful groups so that, together, we can use it to create change
  • undertaking original research in line with the Foundation's strategic direction, targeting work at those in greatest need, on areas where there are significant knowledge gaps and undertaking studies that will make the greatest difference to people's lives
  • establishing peer and citizen mental health research centre(s) of excellence.

2. Research-based knowledge utilisation

We will:

  • set the agenda and build the evidence base for mental health in all policies
  • underpin development programme innovation with evidence and evaluate delivery
  • support evidence informed communications and fundraising
  • use research findings to give people a voice.

3. Contributing to research discourse

We will:

  • interrogate the character and construction of evidence
  • develop and advance a methodology of critical public mental health research articulated in our research standpoint.

4. Building organisational capacity

We will:

  • view experience of mental health problems and inequality as an asset for team members
  • value, build and recognise the skills and expertise of the research team ensuring that the Foundation is an employer of choice
  • strengthen collaboration between researchers and colleagues across the Foundation
  • build research literacy across the Foundation
  • develop leading fellowship, internship, volunteering and student programmes
  • give researchers the tools to do their jobs including finance, human resource and ICT systems.

5. Internal and external partnership working

We will:

  • build relationships with key partners across the UK and internationally (European & global)
  • work collectively in a principled manner with the Foundation’s Communities of Inquiry, Practice and Experience and the wider public in order to contribute to the public mental health movement and progress equality
  • recognise the power relationships within research and organisations' culture and work to equalise these
  • build the Foundation’s reputation as the UK’s leading mental health research organisation.