The London-based Wellcome Trust has announced a commitment of £200 million ($258.8 million) over five years in support of mental health research.
Announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the funding will support efforts to advance basic understanding of and improve treatments for depression and anxiety, including what works and why, and how best to tailor treatments to individuals who need them. The initiative will focus on psychological therapies that can be delivered early in life and at the onset of mental illness, which typically start at a young age. As part of the effort, Wellcome will bring together psychiatrists, neurologists, public health specialists, neuroscientists, data scientists, and cell biologists to share knowledge, with the aim of breaking down silos and creating a culture in which seamless collaboration across disciplines drives new approaches to treatment, prevention, and better outcomes.
The new funding will be in addition to the trust's ongoing support of neuroscience and mental health research, which over the past ten years has totaled £300 million ($388.8 million).
"We know too little about the underlying causes, how treatments work, why they work for some and not others, and how to make them more effective," said Wellcome director Jeremy Farrar. "To take on this huge challenge, we need broad expertise, with researchers from different backgrounds and experiences, and different countries, alongside governments, businesses, and wider society....Mental health is not just a pressing public health problem, it's also a huge productivity and economic issue."