Our strategy for 2021-23

Rethink Mental Illness is the charity for people severely affected by mental illness. Our mission is to lead the way to a better quality of life for everyone severely affected by mental illness. This includes people with lived experience, their carers, families and friends. This page sets out our strategy for 2021 - 2023.  

A PDF version of the full strategy is available for download.

We have a dual role, first, as a campaigning organisation, bringing to bear our experience of working directly with carers and people severely affected by mental illness to shape the health system, public attitudes and the wider social and economic environment. Secondly, as a provider of services directly to people who are severely affected by mental illness, both those with lived experience and carers. People, for example, but not exclusively, living with diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

The combination of the provision of services and our campaigning is the One Rethink principle and we put it into action to ensure everyone who is affected by mental illness can benefit from our approach.

This work is guided, shaped and co-produced with people with lived experience of mental illness, who are at the heart of everything we do.

Our vision is equality, rights, fair treatment, and the maximum quality of life for all those severely affected by mental illness.

We have added ‘equity’ to our values in 2021 in recognition that some groups, in particular people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, are disproportionately likely to experience severe mental illness due to social and economic factors including discrimination. In addition, older people are living with consequences, both mental and physical, of many years with a severe mental illness and there is growing evidence that younger people are struggling with their mental health. A further value of equity will guide our external work campaigning for change, underpinning the way we deliver our mission of reaching underserved groups of the population, and helping us to become a truly anti-racist and inclusive organisation in the coming years. 

Looking to the future

The NHS Long Term Plan has found new funds for people severely affected by mental illness and provides the prospect of seamless care and support in the community. It is a national change and a local change which will look very different in Grimsby, to South London, to Somerset.

For it to happen well, there needs to be a greater prioritisation of adult social care and a funding settlement that reflects the needs of people severely affected by mental illness. We must also ensure that any public spending cuts arising from the cost of the pandemic do not target or impact on mental health.

We won't stop until...

Our longer-term ambitions remain unchanged. We won’t stop until everyone severely affected by mental illness: 

  • Has a voice in how their care, support and treatment is delivered. 
  • Has their rights respected and enhanced. 
  • Can receive recommended care and treatment, close to home, when they need it. 
  • Has a safe, secure and affordable place to call home, with the support they need to live there if required. 
  • Has access to networks, online and off, to develop friendships, new interests and receive peer support. 
  • Has their physical health taken seriously, so that their mental illness doesn’t “overshadow” or cause avoidable physical ill health, leading to decreased life expectancy. 
  • Can work or volunteer in roles they love, with any support they may need, free from stigma and discrimination. 
  • Has enough money to pay their bills and live a satisfying life, able to rely on and navigate a welfare system designed to support, not penalise.

Our objectives

Our objectives are underpinned by our commitment to advancing equality of opportunity for people affected by severe mental illness. This is the responsibility of every one of us. For the life of this strategy, we will focus predominately on race; improving the quality of our data, the knowledge and skills of our staff, and the frameworks to ensure responsibility and accountability. We will seize the opportunity to embed the Equality Act in our journey to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and truly make a difference to people’s lives.  Our objectives for 2021-2023 are as follows: 

  • We will drive the transformation of care and support for all people severely affected by mental illness, particularly aiding the successful roll-out of the community mental health framework over the period. 

  • We will ensure that the services and activities we develop are led and shaped by experts by experience. 

  • We will develop new and innovative partnerships to create wider social change especially with community organisations that enable us to reach underserved groups of the population. 

  • We will transform our internal ways of working to underpin our delivery. 

How we will measure success

Rethink Mental Illness aims to be an impact led organisation. Measuring our effectiveness and the impact we have on improving the quality of life for our beneficiaries is central to our goal. During the previous strategy period, we have developed and embedded several tools to enable us to measure our impact and use this knowledge to improve our offer. We will be reviewing our approach to support the delivery of our current and future strategies. This will include the ability to ensure that we are both on track but also ready to change direction, should new opportunities arise that will help us to succeed in making our vision a reality.

For more information, please download the full strategy

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