Martha has been working with YouGov and communications and engagement leads at the British Science Association (BSA) and Wellcome Trust to gather insight into levels of mental wellbeing across the UK, as well as public opinion on what influences it and the interventions needed to improve it.
The Mental Wellbeing in the UK research, published today, reveals that one in five (21%) of UK adults surveyed described their mental wellbeing as poor; and nearly half (46%) said their wellbeing had worsened since coronavirus restrictions were first introduced across the country back in March 2020.
One in three (35%) said more community action is needed; and nearly half (47%) said they would be interested in taking part in community activity designed to understand and improve mental wellbeing in the area where they live.
You can read more about the research findings here.
The BSA and Wellcome are therefore launching The Ideas Fund – www.theideasfund.org – a new grants programme that will enable the UK public to think about, develop and test ideas to help improve mental wellbeing in the area where they live.
The Fund has been designed to help people tackle problems that matter to them by connecting them with research professionals who can help bring their ideas to life. Initially the Fund will focus on ideas related to mental wellbeing, with £3.29m funding to support community initiatives in four geographical areas of the UK: North West Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Oldham in Greater Manchester and the city of Hull.
Delivered by the BSA and funded by Wellcome, the Fund supports the BSA’s belief that science is about ideas that can and should come from anywhere and Wellcome’s commitment to funding ideas that empower people, lead to better research and enable science to solve urgent health challenges.
Reaching individuals and groups who have been overlooked by health research in the past is a key aim of the Fund – particularly in rural or minority ethnic communities, amongst the young, marginalised and socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
The Fund will help to test and explore factors that impact on our mental wellbeing, through people-powered ideas and collaborations between communities and researchers.
"The Ideas Fund not only encourages traditionally underserved groups of people in the UK to engage with health research, it aims to put them in the driving seat – by involving them in the design of the Fund and decisions on the ideas and projects that receive funding."
Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association