Thinking differently: A ‘first steps’ guide for transforming community mental health

Rethink Mental Illness’ guide is designed to support STPs/ICSs to take the first steps needed to transform community mental health care.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a transformative vision for community-based support for people living with moderate to severe mental illness and complex needs. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to radically redesign services and improve quality of life for service users across England.

Transformation funding will enter this system in April 2021. Prior to this, the NHS, voluntary organisations, local authorities and people affected by mental illness will need to work together in planning how they can make the vision outlined in the Community Mental Health Framework a reality.

Our guide outlines the first five steps needed to transform community mental health care. These have been based on lessons from pilot sites and other pioneering work taking place across England. One example is in Somerset, where we are leading a voluntary sector alliance and working closely with Somerset STP to deliver a new model of care.

Our second guide, Keep thinking differently, supports STPs/ICSs to overcome barriers to the first five steps and continue their journey of community mental transformation.

Rethink Mental Illness are also running a series of webinars to support you to undertake this transformation in your area. Click here to find out more.

Download the STP guide as a PDF

The first five steps

Download the STP guide as a PDF

Webinar series

We are also delivering a series of webinars to support STPs/ICSs and their partners to get to grips with this transformation.

Our next webinar: Embedding community mental health transformation in your COVID-19 recovery - Thursday 22 April, 1-2pm

The latest in our series of webinars will provide the opportunity to hear from experts by experience and national and local leaders, including Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director at NHS England, about how your area can embrace the opportunities offered by the NHS Long Term Plan as local communities begin to rebuild from the pandemic.

With new investment having entered the system on 1 April, STPs/ICSs should be planning their community mental health transformation with experts by experience, local authorities and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has not been as easy time to begin this change, with people with severe mental illness and the services that support them placed under unprecedented strain. However, the Community Mental Health Framework offers as path forward as we emerge from the crisis.

We will also introduce you to Rethink Mental Illness' new guide, Keep thinking differently, which provides assistance to overcome any issues or barriers encountered so far and develop a path forward, step-by-step.

Find out more and register on Eventbrite.

Watch previous webinars

Community mental health transformation - troubleshooting your issues

This webinar focused on troubleshooting any issues faced in planning your transformation of community mental health.

Topics explored during this online event included involvement of the VCSE sector, procurement, measurements and evaluation and co-production to name a few, drawing on the experience and knowledge of our Community Mental Health Framework Unit and experts from across the system.

Watch here:

Somerset’s trailblazing redesign of community mental health

Much of our STP guide has drawn on lessons from the pioneering work taking place in Somerset, where Rethink Mental Illness is the lead accountable organisation in a VCSE sector alliance that is working in partnership with the local STP. Hear from the NHS, voluntary partners and experts by experience about how the Somerset community mental health system was co-designed with experts by experience and the local voluntary sector and how it’s now being delivered.

Watch here:

Thinking Differently: a ‘first steps’ to transforming community mental health launch event

Rethink Mental Illness Deputy Chief Executive Brian Dow is joined by speakers, including Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director at NHS England and Improvement, for this webinar offering expert insights, user perspectives and practical tips based on lessons from pilot sites to support STPs/ICSs to come together with everyone involved in providing local support for people with severe mental illness, and plan how to realise this vision ahead of the upcoming investment.

Watch here:

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