Mental health is one of ESRC’s five strategic priorities for investment. The ESRC is committed to commissioning activity and supporting research in mental health between the years 2016-2020. In the context of mental health the ESRC is interested in how social science research can help to identify and address issues around prevention, the causes of mental health problems and how conditions can be better understood and treated through dedicated healthcare provision or within society and communities.

It is estimated that 23% of the UK population is affected by mental health problems at some point each year and the economic and social cost of mental illness in England is estimated at £105 billion. Social science research can help in many ways. It can provide evidence for what kinds of therapeutic or social interventions work, help us better understand the effects of age, gender, ethnicity and class on mental health and can ensure that initiatives and policies aimed at improving mental health are firmly evidence-based.

Activity in mental health

Mental Health Research Goals

As funders of mental health research across the UK we are delighted to support the Mental Health Research Goals. These four Goals, collectively developed by funders of mental health research, academics and clinicians, and people living with mental health problems, form an agenda for mental health research in the UK over the next decade. Having ambitious but achievable targets ensures that progress against the Goals can be measured, highlighting where best to focus efforts in order to make a real difference to people’s lives.