As part of the Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders, we are today launching Prioritising Mental Health Research, our manifesto setting out what political parties can do to make mental health research a priority during the General Election 2015 and in government.

We believe there is a vital role for government leadership in championing mental health research and promoting mentally healthy communities.

General Election 2015: Prioritising Mental Health Research sets out three priorities:

  1. Championing mental health research funding in General Election manifestos. The next Government should redress the current imbalance in research funding.

  2. Removing blockages to mental health research. We cannot improve mental health and wellbeing without better quality data and information, improved coordination of data sharing between government departments and more mental health knowledge among the wider public service workforce.

  3. Giving priority to research that will make the biggest difference to people's lives including research into children's mental health, prevention and promotion of mental wellbeing and the links between mental and physical health. Setting research priorities should begin with the knowledge and experience of people with mental health problems.

Why does research matter?

We asked Gill Grimshaw, a carer, who told us:
"I cannot make my son better but boosting mental health research would give us both some hope for the future. My son has had severe mental health problems for over ten years and spends several months in hospital most years. We can see that his disease impacts on his physical as well as his mental health. We can also see how much it costs to treat his disease. Since he became ill we have met so many people who have been pushed to the margins of society by mental ill health, trapped at home unable to be economically active, ending up in the criminal justice system or on the streets. Not only are the services my son uses under-resourced but precious little new knowledge and data is being developed to help us understand how money could be best spent on him. How soon can I expect priority to be given to mental health research?"

The Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders is a group of charities that fund research and use research to underpin initiatives to improve the mental health of our communities.

Read the manifesto here (download PDF).