Annual Accounts 2019 - 2020


We hope we will look back on 2019/2020 as a seminal year for the Mental Health In November 2019, the Foundation celebrated its 70th year. It was a milestone that bore witness to the dedication and passion that has driven the Foundation in raising awareness and finding better answers to support our mental health. We were delighted to be joined by our fantastic supporters, our staff and board as well as our patron HRH Princess Alexandra, president, Jacqui Dyer OBE and our chair of the Friends of the Foundation, Fiorella Massey. It was a special privilege to meet family members of our founder Derek Richter to mark this occasion with us.

But as well as celebrating our significant achievements of the past, we also took the opportunity to look forward. After nine months of work and thought, the Foundation launched its new strategy, Making Prevention Happen.

Read the full strategy

The strategy outlines our commitments to achieve greater impact, influence and integrity in our work. It lays out a vision of a society which puts our mental health at its heart which, if heeded, would see a sustained reduction in levels and severity of mental ill-health and better mental health for all.

During the year, the executive have gone to work to bring that vision to life through our ground-breaking research across the UK, policy work and applied work in prevention in communities across the UK. Our subsidiary community interest company, Mental Health At Work, continues to help businesses tackle stigma and enable workplaces to address mental health. It was also a year where we strengthened our work and commitment in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Our work in public engagement continues to grow. Our website is now one of the UK’s leading sites on mental health guidance and advice. When the Foundation first launched Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), few would have envisaged how it has grown to a powerful UK-wide week of events that millions of people get involved with. The 2019 theme and report on Body Image addressed an issue that is too often ignored but central to good mental health. 

As the financial year drew to a close, the Foundation came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic. We moved quickly to close our three offices and protect staff health.

Due to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to play a full part in the national effort to support the mental health of the nation, developing one of the UK’s leading COVID-19 information hubs and launching a major new longitudinal study on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK population.

The Foundation has deepened its commitment to standing against racism and discrimination which is so damaging to people’s mental health. We are striving to increase our own diversity as well as creating a sense of real belonging through support for our staff’s wellbeing.

Our financial position remains strong and we are investing our surplus in responding to the mental health needs of the UK population and in line with delivering our ambitious new strategy for 2020-2025. We are committed to building a sustainable organisation and a transformation in the Foundation’s impact and reach. This report sets out our work in more detail and we welcome the opportunity to work with new partners and donors who share our vision and ambition for good mental health for all.

Aisha Sheikh-anene, Chair of Trustees

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive

Our objectives and achievements

1. Improving our understanding of how to prevent mental health problems

Last year:

  • We published seminal reports summarising the evidence and knowledge on:

    ͦ  prevention and mental health

    ͦ  tackling social inequalities to address mental health problems.

  • We published an important state-of-ageneration report, providing the latest evidence on the mental health of young people and how to prevent problems.
  • In partnership with Public Health Wales, we published a co-produced report on the mental health of farmers and their families, summarising the evidence on what programmes of support might work for this population.
  • We published a three-year evaluation of See Me, Scotland’s anti-stigma programme, and presented at a conference of 100 delegates including Scotland’s Minister for Mental Health.
  • We published our hard-hitting study on support for those bereaved by suicide in Scotland.
  • We published academic articles and led a series of successful events marking the end of our four-year international CRISP (Citizenship, Recovery and Inclusive Societies Partnership) exchange with New York, Yale and Illinois Universities.
  • We launched ‘Empowering people through physical activity’, a participatory research project with Queen’s University Belfast.

2. Creating new evidence-based solutions

Last year:

  • We set up new projects across England and Wales working with population groups who are at higher risk for mental health problems, which included:

 ͦ young people whose parents live with mental health problems

ͦ refugees

ͦnew university students

ͦ communities of men who are isolated.

  • We continued running our big peer education project in secondary schools, reaching over 20,000 students across England, Wales and Scotland.
  • We continued running a big pilot project across southern Wales supporting older people living in supported accommodation to build connections and communities.
  • We further developed our community leadership programme with refugees across Scotland.
  • We established ‘We Can’ Scotland to provide young people with long-term health conditions a platform to show how services can better

3. Making practical support available

Last year:

  • We made advice and support available through our multiple digital channels in the form of articles, podcasts, blogs and campaigns.
  • We offered a variety of self-help guides in print and online, including publishing new suicide prevention advice to help people know where to start when they want to support a loved one.
  • We continued as leadership partners in Future Pathways, a £13m fund for people who experienced abuse in care in Scotland, which supported over 1000 people to access support.
  • We continued to deliver our longstanding refugee mental health programme, Community Conversation, in Scotland.
  • We continued to host Voices of Experience, Scotland’s national mental health service-user advocacy organisation supporting hundreds of members across Scotland.

4. Be an advocate for change

Last year: 

  • We published authoritative recommendations for improving body image and mental health using measures in policy and practice.
  • We published a manifesto for the UK government advocating for mental health equality, analysed the positions on mental health of all parties going into the general election, and lobbied for increased attention to mental health through meeting politicians and officers.
  • We responded to the Prevention Green Paper consultation and were a strong and consistent advocate for the value of taking a public mental health approach in all policies.
  • We co-chaired the Scottish government’s policy group on body image and young people and produced recommendations for policy change.
  • We used our research to effectively influence Scotland’s national suicide prevention leadership group, to develop and fund a new approach to support families bereaved by suicide.

Read the full report