MQ has not yet launched to the public, but has set its sights on delivering transformative change in mental health research, from basic research to developing new and better treatments for mental illness, which affects one in four people in the UK.
Discussions about building a “mental health equivalent of Cancer Research UK” began in 2009 between Sir Mark Walport, former director of the Wellcome Trust, and Lord Dennis Stevenson, a mental health advocate, former chair of the HBOS and now chair of MQ. It opened its doors in January this year, with its chief executive, Cynthia Joyce, brought in from the US. The charity, while set up with an initial pledge from Wellcome, has a completely separate governance structure from the funder and is operating independently.
MQ is working with stakeholders to develop its research priorities and is building its fundraising infrastructure before launching to the public – which Joyce said was unlikely to happen before early 2014. Joyce has yet to recruit a head of fundraising, but said she expected the charity to be doing direct marketing to the public and to utilise new tools, such as social media.
The charity, the website of which is joinmq.org, sees itself as a movement from the outset. As a new charity, Joyce said, MQ has a great opportunity. “We don’t have any baggage, so we can start with what people really want charities to be for them, which is to have realistic goals and to be doing something that is meaningful for us in our lives and for our kids,” she told civilsociety.co.uk.