Thursday, 6 June 2013

Who will sponsor mental health research?

The good thing about blogging on mental health is that everyone looks out for topics for you! Last week a colleague told me about a new mental health research charity – it’s called MQ and wants to be “the Cancer Research UK of mental health research.” The Wellcome Trust has pledged £20 million to pump prime the charity’s activities, and the first MQ Fellows programme has been announced. 

Many people seem to be aware of the huge amounts of research work being done by cancer and heart charities into their specific areas of interest (let’s face it, we have either walked ourselves or sponsored family & friends to raise funds), but what about mental distress? There seem to be so many unanswered questions (not least those recently debated here about the validity of a mental health diagnosis), so surely there would be a corresponding numbers of projects?

The charity Mental Health Research UK  has an innovative idea – but it too depends on a sponsor. One of the co-founders of the charity, “the first UK charity dedicated to raising funds for research into mental illnesses, their causes and cures,” has set up a fundraising blog called The Backpacking Barrister. Lawyer Dr Laura Davidson is currently working in Rwanda, “assisting the government with its mental health policy and legislation.” She writes powerfully from her experiences as a lawyer about her motivation for setting up the charity and the blog, describing a British system “of trial and error…. and legislation which permits the forcible medication of those detained in psychiatric hospitals means patients often feel like guinea pigs.

The MHRUK website has links to the research projects that the charity has funded, including “Development and evaluation of an online intervention for the treatment of depression in university students” by Bethan Davies at Nottingham University.

What areas would you like to see new research focus on? Maybe if we had some good ideas we could pass them on to that new charity MQ and they could start spending the £20 million....? 

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to let you know I am cycling a marathon with my girlfriend to raise money for Mind.

    Yourself and others can sponsor me to help raise money for Mind here: