Exercise has been shown to improve depression, but we don’t know how it works exactly. We spoke to Professor Jonathan Roiser about his new research study that could help fill in the gaps – and bring us closer to better treatments.
Depression, anxiety, and psychosis are holding millions of people back every day. We still know far too little about how and why these conditions develop, and how they can best be resolved.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
We want to create transformative change by finding better ways to intervene early so that people experiencing these mental health challenges can thrive.
To do this, we fund a diverse range of researchers, and collaborate with others, including policy makers.
We are committed to working with lived experience experts to shape the direction of our mental health strategy and the research we fund.
What do we want to achieve?
We want to:
- gain a better understanding of how the brain, body, and environment interact in depression, anxiety, and psychosis so that we can spot potential points for early intervention.
- find better ways of identifying and grouping people with – or at risk of – these conditions so that we can provide more timely and personalised interventions.
- find new and improved ways of intervening. This could involve things that an individual does for themselves, are provided by a healthcare professional, or are provided by policies or practices in wider society.
We fund research tackling complex mental health issues, seeking new insights and breakthroughs.
We unite people across the field and work with lived experience experts to understand problems and find solutions.
We standardise measures and data collection to analyse patterns and trends in a consistent way.
We also advocate for science-based policies, empowering us to shape global mental health.
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A potential new treatment for schizophrenia – backed by Wellcome-funded research – may change the lives of millions of people living with the condition globally.
What funding do we provide?
We fund research that enhances our understanding of how biological, psychological, and social factors interact in the development and resolution of depression, anxiety, and psychosis - including OCD, PTSD, bipolar, and schizophrenia - as well as projects to find new and improved ways to predict, identify and intervene as early as possible.
We are interested in all interventions, pharmacological or non-pharmacological, provided through healthcare systems or by other systems, such as workplaces, educational organisations, or undertaken by an individual themselves.
We support initiatives to build a more inclusive and coherent mental health science community. This includes funding necessary infrastructure, such as improved databases and platforms for trials.
This is in addition to funding that is already available via our Discovery Research programme, which is open to applications relating to all mental health conditions.
Mental health funding calls in progress
We’re funding research to help create transformative change in early intervention for anxiety, depression and psychosis.
There are currently no open funding opportunities for Mental Health. Learn more about the funding we provide.
Does my project fit the criteria for funding?
For a more detailed description of what projects we will and won’t fund, visit our Mental Health remit page.
In addition to awarding grants, we are working with other funders and publishers to agree core measures of people’s mental health, removing one of the biggest barriers to developing a more coherent evidence base.
Plus, we’re supporting the development of better data sets, involving more diverse populations, and collecting more detailed data over a longer period.
We also invite organisations to apply for contract opportunities that support our mission.
Why is early intervention a core focus for us?
Depression, anxiety, and psychosis typically start in youth and can have a significant impact on all aspects of a person’s life. This can result in lower life expectancy, social and economic disadvantage, and a higher risk of self-harm and suicide.
Effective early intervention could stop the escalation of these conditions before they become lifelong, debilitating problems.
By addressing current gaps in our understanding, finding better ways to group people, and funding new and improved interventions, we hope to make this a reality.
Director of Mental Health
Connect with Miranda:
Head of Mental Health Translation
Connect with Lynsey:
Head of Field Building
Connect with Niall:
Head of Lived Experience
Connect with Kate:
Head of Evidence
Connect with Catherine:
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This report is a thorough investigation of digital tools and features that support the meaningful interaction of researchers and participants throughout the research lifecycle in large-scale remote or distributed mental health research projects.