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NESTA to seek out innovative solutions in partnership with Mental Health Foundation

London, UK ---- The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) (http://www.nesta.org.uk) has partnered up with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) (http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk) and other key organisations in mental health to launch a new £1/2 million initiative.

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

Through the Innovations in Mental Health call for proposals, 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.

NESTA Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum explains 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.”

Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive, the Mental Health Foundation added, “Experience tells us many of the solutions are out there - what’s been missing until now is funding and support to develop those ideas for lasting, wider impact. I would urge frontline workers, carers and people with direct experience of mental distress, with good ideas, to get in touch.”

Applicants are encouraged to apply online at http://www.nesta.org.uk/challenges and through partner websites. To be eligible for funding, project proposals will need to come from people with direct experience of the sector, must be innovative, meet a real need and avoid duplicating existing services and projects. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 18 May 2007.

For further information about the Innovations in Mental Health call or NESTA’s Innovation Challenges, interested parties should go to http://www.nesta.org.uk/challenges or contact the Challenges team on mailto:challenges@nesta.org.uk or by telephone +44 (0) 207 438 2500.

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About NESTA
http://www.nesta.org.uk

NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. With endowed funds of over £300 million, our mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. We do this in three main ways: by working to build a more pervasive culture of innovation in this country; by providing innovators with access to early stage capital; and by driving forward research into innovation, with a view to influencing policy.

About The Mental Health Foundation
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

The Mental Health Foundation is a leading UK charity that provides information and policy recommendations, carries out research, campaigns and works to improve services for anyone affected by mental health problems, whatever their age and wherever they live. For more information please contact Laura Gibson on +44 (0) 207 803 1130 or Fran Gorman on +44 (0) 207 803 1128.


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