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The UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) is calling for innovative project proposals from front-line workers, carers and people with direct experience of mental distress, to tackle some of the key challenges surrounding mental health in the UK, reports the eGov Monitor.

The initiative forms part of the first stage of NESTA’s wider ‘Innovation Challenges’ initiative.

NESTA Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum explains, “The rising cost to the economy of mental health problems alone is enough to support the need for us to find new ways of addressing this issue. We need to empower people at the grass roots to come forward and work together to develop more innovative, user-focused solutions.”

NESTA will look to fund and develop local projects from individuals or teams with experience in mental health (including user- and carer groups). The organisation will be looking for projects which, with the right support and guidance, will have the potential to grow into national projects with real impact.

Project ideas can address any aspect of mental health, across all life stages and in any setting. Projects are likely to range from ways to break down the stigma of mental illness to encouraging the involvement of users in re-designing their own care. They may focus on new and improved processes and services, but could also take the shape of new products or technologies. NESTA is particularly interested in ideas that involve collaboration between different disciplines or different areas of mental health practice.

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