Transforming mental health research over the next ten years to improve the care people receive is the focus of new recommendations published by the Department of Health.
The NIHR alongside Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, MQ and the Alliance of Mental Health Research have contributed to the Framework for Mental Health Research, which sets out 10 recommendations to improve the impact of mental health research over the next decade.
These include a focus 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 better co-ordination and leadership of research activity across the public and voluntary sector, harnessing advances in technology, broadening the skill base and encouraging the wider life-science community to invest in mental health research.
The framework – developed in collaboration with academics, clinicians, charities and people with mental health problems – 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.
Mental health research
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt 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.”
Chief Scientific Adviser, Chris Whitty said:
“The need to prioritise mental health in the research community has never been clearer. Accelerating mental health research and creating a strong ambition for change is essential to achieve parity between mental and physical health in the longer term.
“This Framework has been developed to improve co-ordination and focus on areas where mental health research is likely to translate into significant health benefits.”
Public and charity funders of mental health research from the Medical Research Council, 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.”
The NIHR has also launched new mental health research funding opportunities into the promotion of good mental health and the prevention or treatment of mental ill health. Issues of particular interest include proposals that utilise new digital health technologies or investigate their effects. Find out more here.