A £5m investment in mental health research will help to improve services for patients

A £5m investment in mental health research announced today will help to improve services for patients.

The money will help to create the country's first ever Mental Health Research Network, which will act as a central resource and help to co-ordinate research.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton said that funding for mental health research has not reflected the scale of the problem.

"Research is vital if we are to improve NHS services for mental health patients. A huge amount of good work is going on but it currently lacks co-ordination and a strategic overview."

People who use mental health services will help to decide the research areas that the network will focus on. Carers and frontline staff will also have a say.

The Network will be managed by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London and the University of Manchester and will spread best practice around the country. It will receive £1m every year over the next five years, bringing combined government spending on medical research to £1.2bn by 2008.

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