Any verdict on whether the UK is the world leader in something as loosely defined as research and technology for mental health will always be open to debate – there are too many moving parts to reach an absolutely definitive judgement. That said, in 2016, RAND Europe published a briefing which found that the UK Department of Health is the “most acknowledged funder of mental health research in the UK”, and “the 8th most acknowledged funder of mental health research in the world”. This policy is an ambitious promise to move the UK into the number one spot.
In December 2017, the government published its Framework for Mental Health Research, aiming to:
“improve co-ordination and focus on areas where mental health research is likely to translate into significant health benefits…”
In September 2018, the government’s largest medical research funder UK Research and Innovation launched eight new mental health networks to “bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions”.
Despite these developments, there is concern in the sector around “chronic underfunding” of mental health research, with one charity launching a legal challenge against what it sees as discriminatory research funding policy.
There is government investment going towards this policy area, but the challenges of measuring outcomes, and the controversy around funding levels and mechanisms, mean this remains ‘in progress’. To move this to ‘done’ we would need to see a consensus emerge among charities, research bodies, health practitioners and people with mental health issues. We’ll keep tracking, so follow this policy for updates.
Be a world-leading researcher – get the details!
- Mapping UK mental health research funding and its contribution to global funding – RAND Europe
- A Framework for mental health research – Gov.uk
- UK Research and Innovation launches new Mental Health Networks – UK Research and Innovation
- New report reveals huge gaps in mental health research funding – MQ
- Charity launches legal challenge to mental health research funding policy – Lexology
- Fair Funding for Mental Health – Institute for Public Policy Research
- £215 million research fund to tackle the next generation of health challenges – Gov.uk
- Placing the UK at the forefront of mental health research – Medical Research Council
- £15 million boost to mental health research – Medical Research Council