UK Research Councils Unite To Tackle Mental Health

brain research network

In order to tackle mental illness in the UK, the seven Research councils will collaborate to support the interdisciplinary research approaches needed to address the problem. As the single largest disability in Great Britain, mental illness is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted network of expertise. Each year, around 23% of the UK population experiences mental health problems; however, only a quarter of those with mental health issues are estimated to receive treatment for their condition. The other 3/4 rely on the support of family and friends, and source their information on mental health independently.  

RCUK consulted a group of mental health experts to provide guidance on developing the new mental health research agenda. According to the agenda, mental health issues were accountable for 70 million sick days in 2007 and it costs the UK economy between £70-£100 billion per year. With cross-council collaboration highlighted as a priority, the RCUK agenda aims to bring about a number of significant improvements in the overall understanding of mental health problems, co morbidities, self-management, diagnosis, staff training, and health and social care provision.  

The research agenda identifies the following focus areas:


  • Understanding mental health and mental health problems
  • Connection between physical and mental health
  • Public health, prevention and Wellbeing
  • Living with mental health problems

Cross-Cutting themes

  • Effective interventions
  • Technology and data
  • Lifestyle and behaviour
  • Inequalities, ethics, confidentiality and trust 

The full research agenda is available here. Further information on the RCUK collaboration announcement is available on the RCUK website (now archived). 

A cross-council call is expected to be published at the start on September 2017.