The Government has announced £42m for mental health research to develop new treatments, improve diagnosis and increase use of innovative technology.
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Mayura Deshpande, Associate Registrar for Policy at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“This announcement is a positive step in the right direction. We urgently need more funding for mental health research. If we’re serious about treating mental and physical health equally, funding for mental health research needs to increase exponentially. As measured by Years Lived with Disability, mental disorders account for at least 21% of the UK disease burden1, although further research suggests this has been underestimated by at least a third2. Yet in 2018, just 6.1% of the UK’s health research budget was spent on mental health3 and funding has remained flat for a decade4.
“While new technologies for managing common mental illness are welcome, we strongly support the commitment to develop new treatments and expand knowledge of severe mental illness, including early psychosis, mood disorders and difficult-to-treat depression. Research into effective strategies to prevent mental illness is also urgently needed. We know every pound invested in early intervention delivers a three-fold return on investment and significantly improves outcomes5.
“This research funding does not take away from the fact that mental health services are at breaking point because of a chronic shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals. Apps and other technologies will not by themselves solve this problem. We are calling on Government to urgently publish the Workforce Plan they promised last year.”
- GBD results tool
- Vigo D, Thornicroft G, Atun R. Estimating the true global burden of mental illness. Lancet Psychiatry. 2016;3(2):171-178.
- UK Clinical Research Collaboration. UK Health Research Analysis 2018. January 2020.
- MQ. UK Mental Health Research Funding 2014–2017. 2017
- RCPsych: One third of UK public says their mental health has deteriorated as a result of the pandemic