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.