Davos– London-based biomedical research charity, Wellcome is to allocate an additional £200m (EGP 4.652bn) to mental health research, Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome announced on Wednesday, at the World Economic Forum 2019 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The topic of mental health has high profile advocates at Davos, with the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern speaking at a public session on mental health later on Wednesday.
Farrar said that mental health has both a direct, and indirect impact on everyone, and that despite the great progress in awareness in the last few decades, yet many remain left behind, and that the world still knows too little about the underlying causes, how treatments work, why they work for some and not others, and how to make them even more effective.
Furthermore he added that, “Mental health is not just a pressing public health problem, it’s also a huge productivity and economic issue. Far less is spent on mental health research than on physical health. More investment is essential to develop and improve treatments, and get these to the people who need them and reduce the stigma that tragically surrounds mental health issues. There is a great opportunity to innovate and transform our mental health, in everything from basic research and early prevention, to frontline treatment and workplace initiatives.”
According to Wellcome, over 615 million people suffer from anxiety and depression worldwide, who are usually untreated especially in low-income countries, and treatments are only effective for around half of the population.
Thus, in order to transform how depression and anxiety are treated, Wellcome aims to find new ways to ‘back translate’ successful psychological therapies, so that the biological and neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning them are better understood.
Moreover, Wellcome intends to develop common standards for how depression and anxiety are assessed, as well as to create a mental health global database, in order to improve collaboration.