How much do different countries invest in mental health research compared with other branches of healthcare? As part of the ROAMER project, Hazo et al compared four European nations: the UK, France, Spain and Finland. Using 2011 data, public and private (not-for-profit) annual spends were calculated, respectively, at ₠127.6, ₠84.8, ₠16.8 and ₠10.2 million. To look on it another way, that equates to a national spend per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) of ₠48.7, ₠31.2, ₠39.5 and ₠12.5. How does this relate to wider research spending? In the UK, just 4% of health research funding goes on mental health – given that it accounts for 12% of total DALYs, that's an enormous underspend (the Finns do better at almost 10%). A recent paper in the BJPsych confirmed that greater national investment in mental health services produces better clinical outcomes, but the burden remains enormous and we need more research into prevention, intervention and treatment. We can all play a positive role: only 1.7% of charity research spend went to mental health – time to put your hands into your pockets.
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