This site is intended for health professionals only

Stars urge mental health research

A radical increase in funding for mental health research has been called for in a petition delivered to Downing Street and containing signatures from a host of celebrities, including Stephen Fry and Tracey Emin.

Alastair Campbell, Melanie C, Jo Brand and Speech Debelle also signed the appeal, which is part of the Research Mental Health campaign, calling on the government, the NHS, pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and charities to make mental health research a priority.

Triple the amount of mental health research investment is also needed, the campaign claims, with mental health taking up 15% of the country's disease burden and only receiving 5% of total health research spending.

Currently, about £74m a year is spent on researching mental illness, and Research Mental Health wants this to increase to £200m a year within the next five years.

The declaration also states: "Only proper investment in mental health research will bring the major breakthroughs that are possible in the next 20 years. These could dramatically change our understanding of mental illness and our ability to prevent and treat it."

The Research Mental Health initiative is being led by the Institute of Psychiatry and the Mental Health Foundation.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Research Mental Health

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Yes. There's a huge need for research and quality evidence in mental health. It's a Cinderella of research as well. Cancer Research UK has an annual research budget of £330 million" - Arj, London