New guide launched today: No decision about us without us

by admin | 15th October 2012

Mental Health charities launch guides to improve local mental health services

Four leading mental health charities are launching a guide today to provide practical advice for people with mental health problems and their families, on how they can have their voices heard in the mental health system and hold services to account.

The launch of No decision about us, without us comes on World Mental Health Day and is designed to encourage everyone to demand more from services and campaign for change in their local area.

The guide has been produced by the charities Rethink Mental Illness, Afiya Trust, Mind, NSUN (national survivor user network) and complements the implementation framework for the government’s mental health strategy, No Health without Mental Health.

While the strategy set out the government’s overarching aims and ambitions, the guide provides practical advice for the public on how they can ensure those ambitions are being translated into action on the front line.

Sarah Yiannoullou,
Managing Director of NSUN said: “This guide equips people with important information about how best to influence services and understand the recent changes to health and social care policy. NSUN is committed to ensuring that people are able to use their experience and expertise to positively influence services and put this guide into action. In this way ‘No decision about us, without us’ becomes meaningful.”

Paul Jenkins, CEO of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said: “Everyone involved in this piece of work feels strongly that people with experience of mental health problems are the real experts. They should not only be listened to, but seen as equal partners in making key decisions.

“Too often in the past, involving people who use services has been a tokenistic, box ticking exercise and it’s not good enough. Local communities should be listened to at all stages – from the very beginning when major decisions are being made about what kind of support is needed in an area, to giving feedback on existing support.

“We hope this guide will arm people with the knowledge they need to demand more and hold their local health and social care services to account. It’s not always easy, some areas are much better at listening to the views of the public than others. That’s why we’ve offered advice not only on how people can get involved through existing channels, but also how they create new opportunities to be heard if they feel they’re being ignored.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “This guide comes at a critical time for mental health. The Government’s mental health strategy and implementation framework were positive steps, but we know far more progress needs to be made. Given the tough economic climate, now more than ever people need support to look after their mental health; last year calls to Mind’s Infoline increased by 18 per cent and our local Minds helped over 250,000 people. Yet for the first time investment in mental health services has fallen this year and the NHS is going through huge reforms.

“This guide will help people use the mental health strategy as a lever to influence the new NHS systems, improve services and campaign for change, to ensure everyone with mental health problems gets the support they need and the respect they deserve.”

The group are today also launching a series of briefings, for six of the key organisations with a role in delivering the mental health strategy, including health and wellbeing boards, clinical commissioning groups and local healthwatch organisations.

You can download the guide and the six briefings from our website.

Page last updated: October 15th, 2012 at 2:41 am