Mental health

Over £40m to lay foundations for new ‘Mental Health Mission’

Those conducting mental health research are set to receive an almost £43m funding injection to develop innovative technologies and treatments, the government has announced.

Over £20m of the investment will be funnelled into two ‘demonstrator sites’ in Birmingham and Liverpool.

The researchers in Liverpool will investigate how physical, social and psychological factors all influence mental health, while teams in Birmingham will focus more on early intervention treatments and younger people with mental health challenges.

The residual money will be set aside for wider, national work to look into depression and early psychosis as well as translating findings into practice.

With one in four adults and one in 10 children experiencing some kind of mental health issue according to NHS England, the so-called Mental Health Mission is aiming to partner with patients, the NHS, and industry leaders to establish the UK as the epicentre of mental health research innovation.

The mission will be co-chaired by the University of Manchester’s Professor Kathryn Abel and visiting professor at Oxford and Duke universities, Husseini Manji.

In a joint statement, the pair said: “Between us, we bring a wealth of experience in mental health research and innovation, and a commitment to genuine collaboration with patients, industry and healthcare staff.”

The chairs also said they hope the mission will “foster a step change in the way we think about mental health, mental illness and its treatment.”

The announcement comes from the Office for Life Sciences and the National Institute for Health and Care Research whose chief executive, Professor Lucy Chappell, explained: “Mental ill health affects many people. This investment in the Mental Health Mission aims to deliver a truly exciting range of innovative therapies and technologies that could greatly improve people's lives.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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