In Profile: Mental Health Philanthropy

Alliance magazine

Despite its relatively humble position in the pecking order of causes which deserve funding, many organisations around the world, funders as well as practitioners, are engaged with the issue of mental health. The following offers a snapshot of some of them.

Mental health problems, notes the section of the Wellcome Trust’s website devoted to its mental health work, are a growing public health concern, with anxiety and depression among the leading causes of illness and disability and having significant social and economic impacts. Over the next 30 years, therefore, the Trust will help find the next generation of treatments and approaches for mental ill health. This includes supporting the mental health science community to agree common ways to measure mental health outcomes. It also involves enabling connections across the research community, and involving people with experience of mental ill health in all aspects of the work. Current focus areas include anxiety and depression in young people (Wellcome is running a series of Data Prizes, the first of which focuses on young people’s mental health in South Africa and the UK), workplace mental health, transforming the understanding and discussion of mental health and building a global mental health databank. It has also published the Wellcome Global Monitor 2020: Mental Health, the largest survey of how people consider and cope with anxiety and depression.

Pears Foundation has funded the new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People out of its long-standing interest in promoting young people’s social and emotional well-being. It is also a recognition of the importance of intervening in possible mental health problems in the early years and addressing problems before they escalate. Working in consultation with children, parents and the local community, it will bring together leading clinicians, educators and researchers currently operating across multiple buildings. The aim is to create a purpose-built space to increase capacity and collaboration and accelerate shared learning. The Pears Foundation also provides multi-year revenue funding for a range of organisations that deliver mental health services in schools, the community or online. It is also a lead supporter of the Anna Freud Centre’s Closing the Gap strategy to address the gap between children and young people’s need for mental health support and the help available.

Next Special feature to read

Peer Dialogue: Being OK in the chaos

Krystian Seibert and Joshua Haynes