Could anti-inflammatory drugs prevent schizophrenia?

"It may be possible to prevent schizophrenia by calming the brain's immune system," BBC News reports after researchers found raised levels of immune activity in people thought to be at high risk of developing schizophrenia.

Prevention is the only way lasting change can be achieved

Prevention was the public’s number one priority for NHS England’s Mental Health Taskforce in its public engagement stage. In this and a series of blogs, I will be analysing how far the Taskforce report – The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health – delivers, and where there are opportunities to drive prevention over the next five years. 

Preventing mental ill health: time to take action

There are times throughout all of our lives when we are likely to run into difficulty, particularly at life’s pressure points: the crucial times of transition from one life stage to another. From moving away from home for university, to having children or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

If we are to rise to the challenge of reducing the prevalence of mental health problems, we need to be stepping in at these pressure points.

Approach mental health like cancer care: prevention is key

For decades cancer strategy has focused on early prevention and diagnosis. Now we must do the same with mental health.

NHS vow to transform mental health services with extra £1bn a year

Taskforce calls for provision of 24/7 support for people in crisis and 10% reduction in suicide rates.

Preventing prison suicide

The last two years have seen a marked increase in the number of suicides in English and Welsh prisons, with 89 prisoners taking their own lives in both 2014 and 2015. This was the highest number of suicides since 2007.


£500,000 is available via investments of up to £50,000 per application to support the development of innovative concepts or prototypes using digital technology to improve patient care and health services, in response to the identified WMAHSN priority areas. Companies must be based in England, outside of Greater London. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. The fund will close on Friday 30 September 2016.


An annual call for projects of around £50k per Trust. Call usually opens around April.


This programme will support projects aimed at obtaining evidence regarding effectiveness, costs and broader impact of particular healthcare treatments. “Technology” includes any method used to promote health; prevent and treat disease; and improve rehabilitation or long-term care, and includes: procedures, drugs, devices, diagnostic tests, settings of care and screening programmes. HTA research is undertaken when evidence exists to show that a technology can be effective, but the purpose of the HTA study must be to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness for the NHS in comparison with the current best alternative(s). There are commissioned and researcher-lead calls which open around 3 times a year. 

NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes

A total prize pot of around £650,000. Themed challenges are issued of varying value (£50k-£100K) in addition to smaller Acorn Challenges (£10k each). Call expected to open in September each year.