A New Initiative

Mental Health Research UK came about because of the enthusiasm of three people: Clair Chilvers, Laura Davidson and John Grace. Professor Clair Chilvers was Director of the Mental Health Portfolio at the Department of Health and between 2007 and 2011 was Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, one of the largest providers of mental health services in Western Europe (she is now Chair of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust). Barristers John Grace QC and Dr Laura Davidson had independently established contact with some of the leading UK researchers into the causes and treatment of mental illness. A meeting was held at the Wellcome Trust in April 2007 and agreement was reached that Clair, Laura and John would work together on this initiative.

Discussion with existing mental health research charities suggested that rather than setting up a new charity to fund mental health research, initially a joint venture with one or more of these charities to raise funding specifically to fund mental health research should be explored. It would engage the considerable expertise in existing charities as well as promoting common interests between them. Rethink had agreed to be a partner in this initiative and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the partners. In May work on 
Mental Health Research UK had progressed sufficiently for a decision to be taken to develop unilaterally but to engage with a wider group of mental health charities of which Rethink would be one. The early support of Rethink was a significant factor in getting Mental Health Research UK off the ground and the charity continues to be supportive of Mental Health Research UK's venture.

In addition, advice has been sought from the following:

Stephen Doochin (NARSAD), Kathleen Duncan (former Director General, LloydsTSB Foundation), Michael Fitzpatrick (NAMI), Hilary Gilfoy (Autism Speaks), Joy Gillett (Australian Rotary Health Research Fund), Pamela Goldberg (Breast Cancer Campaign), Fiona Hare (Garfield Weston Foundation), Victoria Harrison (Wolfson Foundation), Iona Joy (New Philanthropy Capital), Ruth Lesirge (private consultant), Jonathan Naess (Stand to Reason), Glenn Richer (PKF UK LLP) George Szmukler (Institute of Psychiatry), Graham Thornicroft (Institute of Psychiatry) and Pam Waring.