BACP is backing fresh calls for more funding for mental health research. 

Jo Pybis, BACP senior research fellow, said research investment was crucial in being able to provide people with poor mental health with effective treatment, such as counselling and psychotherapy.

Dr Pybis’s comments came after MQ’s second UK Mental Health Research Funding report was published.

The report, which is accompanied by a new paper in the Lancet Psychiatry, shows mental health research receives 25 times less funding per person affected than physical conditions, such as cancer.

And while awareness of mental health is increasing, money being put into research has remained flat in real terms over the last decade, it says.

MQ says public donations account for 2.7 per cent of for mental health research funding. This is significantly lower than cancer (68 per cent of funding), cardiovascular disease (41 per cent) and dementia (28 per cent).

It has called for greater funding for mental health research in general, and is encouraging the public to support it as well.

Effective treatments

Dr Pybis said: “BACP supports MQs call for more research funding for mental health research.

“This report shows that mental health research receives 25 times less funding per person affected than physical conditions such as cancer, equating to just £9 spent on research per person affected by mental illness.

“This is particularly concerning at a time where there is an increasing awareness and demand for evidence based mental health services.

“Developing effective services needs to be supported by a significant increase in the funding available for mental health research.

“Despite 75 per cent of mental health problems beginning before the age of 18, just 25 per cent of research funding for mental health goes towards projects on children and young people.

“Yet we know that the earlier we intervene in a condition the more successful it can be for the individual, as well as being much cheaper in the long run for the public purse.

“Investment in research is essential to provide those affected by poor mental health with effective treatments such as counselling and psychotherapy.

“It is vital that the public get behind funding for research into mental health in the same way they have for physical conditions such as cancer in order to ensure the scale of mental health problems is matched by the amount of research into effective interventions.”

MQ director of research Sophie Dix said: “We need research to work for people living with a mental illness.

“Advances are being made across the field of mental health research, however, gaps in investment are preventing a clear pathway to patient impact. It’s vital we come together and ensure that all research can reach those affected.

“Research can transform what it means to experience mental illness, starting now and for every generation to come.”