World Mental Health Day 2014: Call for more research funding

Psychologists and psychiatrists mark World Mental Health Day (10 October 2014) with a call for improved funding for research into serious mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.

The British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have joined forces to emphasise the crucial role research has in better understanding mental health, improving the lives of those affected and in helping to reduce the stigma of mental health.

Government figures suggest that each year around one-in-four people will experience a mental health problem. Even though mental ill health accounts for a quarter of the disease burden in England, mental health treatment receives only 13 per cent of NHS funding.

According to recent information from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), the UK spends some £130 million annually on mental health research. This is only 10 per cent of total spending on health research by public bodies. Only one per cent of the funding for the IAPT programme has so far been directed towards non-CBT approaches.

Professor Dorothy Miell, president of the British Psychological Society said: “There has been good progress in recent years in terms of promoting access to psychological therapies like CBT. However, for more complex problems a mix of therapies may be required. Researchers are at the forefront of the work to better understand psychological problems and mental health, and help develop evidence-based pathways for treatment and support in the future.

“World Mental Health Day has helped raise the profile and reduce the stigma of mental ill health and bring this important health issue into the open. Research is needed to ensure we increase our understanding of these conditions and add to advances in effective therapies to improve people’s lives.”

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president, Royal College of Psychiatrists said: "There is much we still need to do to improve access to, acceptance of, and the quality of our mental health services. But if we want a truly radical transformation this must come from better treatments, both psychological and physical.

"RCPsych and BPS therefore renew the call for long-term sustained investment into mental health research."

The psychiatric and psychological community relies on evidence-based research, presented in journals like Evidence-Based Mental Health (EBMH), which is published by the RCP and BPS, in partnership with BMJ.

EBMH journal not only selects and disseminates the best evidence with an expert commentary, its scope is also to introduce and promote the practices of evidence-based medicine in diverse mental health clinical settings across the world.  It has a special issue for World Mental Health Day 2014, which will be open access until the end of October

Dr Andrea Cipriani (University of Oxford), editor-in-chief of EBMH said: “Schizophrenia is one of the most debilitating, chronic mental health disorders and ranks among the top 20 causes of disability worldwide, with new literature on the subject constantly adding to the wealth of information available. The mission of EBMH is to help psychiatrists and psychologists learn how to select and use the best available evidence to answer their questions and markedly improve their own clinical practice.”

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2014 is Living with Schizophrenia. Some 26 million people are affected by schizophrenia worldwide. Despite being a treatable disorder, more than 50 per cent of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment, and 90 per cent of people with untreated schizophrenia live in the developing world.

On 17 October there will be an online EBMH Twitter chat pharmacotherapy of treatment-resistant schizophreniaopen to everyone at 3pm GMT #ebmhchat