12 December 2017

Placing the UK at the Forefront of Mental Health Research

Today, the government publishes its Framework for Mental Health Research, a document which the MRC has helped to shape along with other public and charity funders of mental health research. Setting out ten recommendations to improve the impact of mental health research over the next decade, the Framework focuses on prevention and early intervention, increased patient and public engagement, user-led research and stronger connections between physical and mental health research. The guidance also points to harnessing advances in technology, broadening the skill base and encouraging the wider life-science community to invest in mental health research.

Mental health research is a core priority for the MRC. In 2015/16 we spent over £25 million pounds on research across a spectrum of mental health conditions from depression to schizophrenia, bipolar to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), making us one of the top three funders of this area in the UK. In our strategy, we’ve agreed to make a significant investment in global mental health; only recently we committed £10 million to mental health research in our Mental Health Data Pathfinder Awards. Our global network of leading scientists are making huge strides forward in our understanding of mental illness, progressing new treatments and ultimately uncovering the path to prevention. Our investment and expertise in this area continues to grow.

The government Framework chimes with the MRC Mental Health Strategy and looks to support the growing momentum of research support in this field. The Framework has been published in response to a recommendation in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health in 2016 and representatives of the main funders will meet this month to discuss the recommendations.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, said: “We’re investing in mental health more than ever before and have started one of the biggest expansions of mental health services in Europe but we know when it comes to research, we can and should do better.

“This framework will ensure we can make the lives of those living with mental health problems better and push us further towards our goal of becoming the world leader in research.”

Public and charity funders of mental health research, from the MRC, Wellcome Trust, Economic and Social Research Council, MQ and The Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders, said: “We are delighted to have engaged with the mental health research community and key stakeholders in the development of this Framework for Mental Health Research. As funders of mental health research, we have our own strategies for investment and the framework creates an exciting opportunity to build on our existing collaborative work - developing innovative approaches to prevention, treatment and care that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”