The Schizophrenia Commission
In November 2011 the independent Schizophrenia Commission was established by Rethink Mental Illness.
One hundred years since Bleuler coined the term, schizophrenia remains a stigmatised and misunderstood mental illness. In November 2011 our expert commission scoped the state of care and outcomes for people living with Schizophrenia in England.
In 2012 the Commission published a groundbreaking report called Schizophrenia - The Abandoned Illness. This revealed a dysfunctional system that is not delivering the quality of treatment people need for recovery and includes key recommendations to promote change.
Download the report:
In January 2017, Rethink Mental Illness released a report which examines progress against 11 key recommendations.
In some areas, we have seen real success. Rethink Mental Illness successfully campaigned for the introduction of access and waiting times standards for Psychosis, and now, 77% of people start treatment within two weeks of referral. Thanks to the Time to Change campaign (which we run jointly with Mind), attitudes about mental illness are improving, and people feel more comfortable about sharing their own experiences of living with a mental health condition. In secure services, our Recovery and Outcomes programme is supporting people to have their say on what needs to improve, and that insight is fed directly to the Secure Care Programme team at NHS England.
Attitudes to mental illness have improved, in part thanks to Time to Change our anti stigma campaign, but schizophrenia remains stubbornly misunderstood... we found that 50% of people mistakenly think schizophrenia means you have a ‘split’ personality
- Brain Dow, Rethink Mental Illness.
In other areas, despite increased focus at the leadership level, progress on the ground has been limited. Rethink Mental Illness has long been campaigning for better physical health provision for people living with mental health conditions. We have piloted work on smoking cessation within mental health services, and design a physical health toolkit which included e-learning for mental health professionals. Despite this, people with conditions like Schizophrenia are still dying 20 years earlier, and preventative monitoring within primary care is not being offered consistently.
Likewise, in terms of supported housing, Rethink Mental Illness’ Place to Call Home campaign aimed to protect supported housing welfare benefits for people with mental health conditions, and although thanks to this campaign the original government proposals were dropped, the new proposals also put supported housing services at risk.
Click here to read the progress report