Our Research

Mental health problems account for a quarter of all illness yet receive only six per cent of UK research funding, with personality disorders and autism being especially under-funded areas. We want to invest in more and higher quality mental health research to help improve people’s lives.


To fund vital research on personality disorders, autism and complex mental health needs to help people live happy, healthy lives.

Mission Statement

Lindsay campaigned on personality disorders, autism and complex mental health needs because she lived and died with them. Our aim is to identify effective ways of helping those with similar problems.

We will:

  • commission much needed research on personality disorders, autism and complex mental health needs
  • ensure the research is founded upon the needs of people living with personality disorders, autism and complex mental health needs
  • increase understanding
  • promote better responses, treatments and outcomes
  • advocate and lobby for policy and practice changes to help more people live happy, healthy lives

We are working with the McPin Foundation, a registered charity which is experienced in conducting research that puts people with lived experience of mental health problems at the heart of the process. Together we engage individuals with lived experience, clinicians and professionals to refine the scope of research, ensure it is relevant and has a positive impact on improving experiences of mental health care.

£80,000 grant to City of London University

Building on the work of the survey, Words That Carry On launched an invitation for universities to bid for funding for research. The brief was “to investigate the overlap between the diagnoses of autism and personality disorder”. After tough competition from across the UK, we awarded £80,000 to City University London in October 2020. The grant will fund a PhD study due to start in autumn 2021.

Research summary

City University London is a global higher education institution committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions. Within City, the School of Health Sciences is actively engaged in internationally recognised research, that has a direct impact on the provision of healthcare services today and in the future. Its aim is to build on research excellence that informs and improves learning, practice and policy on real-world issues in the health services sector.

Mental Health Act England and Wales: UK Government Consultation

As part of its review of the Mental Health Act England and Wales (MHA) the UK government published a “White Paper” in January 2021, containing its proposals for legislative changes. The White Paper responds among other things to “The Wessely Review” which was called to investigate the rising number of detentions and disproportionate detentions under the Mental Health Act of people from black and minority backgrounds. The remit of the review required that it look at “processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system”. WTCO responded to the consultation stressing the need for full recognition and use of lived experience expertise in research, policy and practice and emphasising the need to fully fund mental health and social care provision in the UK.

You can read WTCO’s full response here:

In Your Words Survey

Words That Carry On wanted to identify the topics most urgently of interest to those affected by a personality disorder diagnosis and in the autistic community. So in 2018-19 we asked people from key stakeholder groups to rate nine topics from “vitally important” to “not important”.

The results – summarised below – suggested that we should prioritise research into diagnosis and its implications, particularly the diagnostic processes for autism and personality disorder. The full report, including a detailed analysis of the responses, is available here.