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Global mental health funding programme relaunched

Published: 05 May 2020

The NIHR has partnered with Grand Challenges Canada to relaunch the Global Mental Health research programme, with a new focus on the mental health of young people.

Around three quarters of the global burden of mental illness is borne by populations in LMICs. However, only a small proportion of people in these countries can get the mental health treatment they need, where scarce resources and a shortage of trained professionals limit access to evidence-based approaches to address mental health.   

Three quarters (75%) of all mental health disorders start before the age of 24, and yet only 12.5% of development assistance for mental health is targeted towards youth. This means that only 0.1% of the total development assistance for health goes toward youth mental health. 

Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in Canada.

Grand Challenges Canada has supported one of the largest portfolios of global mental health innovations in the world, investing $43.8 million CAD (£25 million) to support 95 projects across more than 30 LMIC countries. 

The NIHR Global Health Research programme entered into a partnership with Grand Challenges Canada in October 2019, contributing £6 million over three years (2019-2022) towards the second phase of their Global Mental Health research programme.

The aim of the partnership is to support seed and transition-to-scale funding for high impact innovations that improve treatments or expand access to care for people living with or are at risk of mental disorders. 

The funding will focus on girls and young women who are disproportionately affected by common mental disorders in LMICs. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the programme will also fund approaches that seek to address young people’s mental health in times of crisis.

Over the next few months, Grand Challenges Canada will work with subject matter experts, past global mental health innovators and young people with lived experiences with mental health challenges to develop a seed funding call for research on mental health in young people. This call will launch on 19 May 2020.

Further details about the funding call will be available on the NIHR website when the call opens.

Read more about the partnership on the Grand Challenges Canada website.

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