With more than one-in-four of us affected by mental health illnesses ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder the charity MQ is launching a drive to increase investment in this vital area.
Of the £115m spent on mental health research in Britain every year, 85 per cent is funded by three bodies: the Wellcome Trust, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The charity Cancer Research alone contributes £386 million into finding cures for cancer. That difference is laid bear with the statistic that every £1 spent by the Government on cancer research is matched by a further £2.75 in charity donations. The figure for mental health is less than a third of a penny.
“Current funding of mental health research does not do justice to the scale or impact of mental illness on individuals, families and communities,’ said MQ ceo Cynthia Joyce.
“Successive governments, all political parties and the current Prime Minister have made mental health a priority. And yet the reality on the ground does not reflect this change. Practically every day a new headline warns us of serious problems with our mental health services.
“Put simply, mental health research must be taken far more seriously if we are to stop attempting to patch holes in current support and instead build an approach towards mental healthcare that consistently offers certainty, clarity and compassion.
“The great breakthroughs in diseases like cancer, HIV, have only been possible with leadership from Government and unprecedented public support for research. Now in the time for mental health research.”
On Tuesday cabinet minsters Andrea Leadsom and Penny Mordaunt will be joined by MPs and celebrities at a private even in Parliament to discuss ways of driving funding.
Last night David Roach, a Conservative candidate and PR consultant who organised the event, said: “I have struggled in my adult life to cope with anxiety and depression. When I was diagnosed, and started to tell my friends, it was shocking to me how many of them were suffering from similar issues. These were people I’d known for years. Some had even been on anti-depressants and I had no idea.
“We talk about one in four suffering from mental health issues but I strongly suspect it is might higher than this, because so many suffer in silence and don’t necessarily seek treatment.
“If 15 million people suddenly got flue, there would be national emergency. Yet when it comes to mental health, we seem to be happy to proceed at a glacial pace in tackling its root causes. “
To donate, visit www.mqmentalhealth.org