Research councils launch mental health research agenda

The UK’s seven research councils have launched a joint research agenda on mental health, ahead of a funding call in September.

The research agenda aims to aid understanding of mental health conditions and their influencing factors. It will also attempt to improve diagnosis, care and treatment, and improve training for healthcare professionals.

Research will fall under four themes:

  1. Understanding mental health and mental health problems;
  2. The connection between physical and mental health;
  3. Public health, prevention and wellbeing; and
  4. Living with mental health problems.

An advisory group, convened in 2016 and comprised of academics, put forward these four research areas after consultation with other researchers, funders and mental health charities.

“This agenda is designed to complement the wealth of activity already underway across the research councils as well as other organisations, and we hope it will co-ordinate and inspire cross-disciplinary research in the years ahead,” said Andrew Steptoe, the chairman of the advisory group and head of University College London’s department of behavioural science and health.

Nearly a quarter of the UK’s population—23 per cent—are estimated to be affected by mental health problems each year, but only a quarter of those receive ongoing treatment, according to the report.

A cross-council funding call will open in September, the value of which has yet to be announced.

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