Mental illness is largely caused by social crises such as unemployment or childhood abuse and too much money is spent researching genetic and biological factors, psychologists have warned.
Over the past decade funding bodies like the Medical Research Council(MRC) have spent hundreds of millions on determining the biology of mental illness.
But while there has been some success in uncovering genes which make people more susceptible to various disorders, specialists say that the true causes of depression and anxiety are from life events and environment, and research should be directed towards understanding the everyday triggers.
Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at theUniversity of Liverpool, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course every single action, every emotion I’ve ever had involves the brain, so to have a piece of scientific research telling us that the brain is involved in responding emotionally to events doesn’t really advance our understanding very much.
“And yet it detracts from the fact that when unemployment rates go up in a particular locality you get a measurable number of suicides.