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UK mental health - how much do we spend on research?

  • £115 million is invested in the UK on mental health research on average each year
  • £8is spent per person affected by mental illness
  • 22xmore is spent on research into cancer than mental health per person affected

Delivering a genuine breakthrough in our understanding and treatment of mental health requires an increased and sustained investment in research.

However, our analysis shows funding currently falls far short of what is needed – and lags well behind that for other conditions per person affected.

In 2016, we published a new analysis comparing research spending across conditions. This follows our 2015 Funding Landscape review – looking at UK mental health research grants, and comprehensive estimates of the amount spent by condition and by different types of research. 

Download the most recent analysis, covered in the MQ Manifesto for Young People’s Mental health (PDF). Or alternatively download the original MQ Funding Landscape Review (PDF), published in 2015.

Key findings

  • On average, the UK invests approximately £115 million per year in mental health research - 85% of which is provided by three funders: the Wellcome Trust; the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR); and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
  • The vast majority of funding for mental health supports underpinning research. Considerably less funding goes directly to the prevention, detection and screening, or the development of treatments for mental illness
  • Approximately £8 is invested in research per person affected by mental illness. 20x more is spent on research into cancer, and 14x more on dementia

Help spread the word

Share this graphic on social media to highlight the desperate need for parity in mental health research funding. 

These figures from @MQmentalhealth show mental health research funding is shockingly low!

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© MQ: Transforming mental health 2016 | Registered charity in England / Wales: 1139916 & Scotland: SC046075 | Company number: 7406055