People with experience of mental illness, and those who care for them, are at the heart of everything we do. They shape our expert advice, information and training, and 90 services. They also drive our campaigning and help to run over 140 local support groups. Supporting all this life-changing work are our incredible supporters, volunteers and staff members.

50 years of changing lives

2022 marked our 50th anniversary. We spent the year reflecting on the changes in the mental health landscape over the last 50 years and celebrating our role in changing the lives of people severely affected by mental illness, and their carers. But also looked ahead to the next 50 years, as we continued to lead the way to a better quality of life for everyone severely affected by mental illness. Join us.

How it all started

In May 1970, a man named John Pringle wrote a letter to The Times about his son’s experience of schizophrenia and highlighted the lack of care and support for people living with the condition. 400 people responded and the foundations of The National Schizophrenia Fellowship were born. From this, our charity was officially formed on 25 July 1972.

Over the last 50 years, we have been a beacon of hope for everyone affected by severe mental illness. From campaigning on The Mental Health Act, to our award-winning advice and information service, to championing peer support, our message is clear. Everyone affected by mental illness deserves a good quality of life, no matter their circumstances.

Changing lives, every day

Today we run over 90 mental health services across England that offer front line support for people in their own communities. With the help of volunteers, we also run a further 140 local peer support groups and an award-winning advice and information line which receives over 4000 requests for help every year.

As we celebrate throughout 2022, you’ll hear stories from the people we have helped, and we’ll introduce you to some of the many people who have worked tirelessly to make our charity what it is today.

We’re excited to look back over the last 50 years, but it’s also vital that we look forward. The mental health conversation has made great strides, but people severely affected by mental illness still need to see meaningful change across all aspects of everyday life.

The road ahead

There’s still so much work to do. Well-funded mental health support seems further away than ever in the economic uncertainty fuelled by Covid-19. And we see the impact of this in many different ways. People living with severe mental illness still have a shorter life expectancy than others, Black people are still four times more likely than their white counterparts to be sectioned. And living with mental illness too often leads to isolation, financial problems and other difficulties.

But there is hope. For half a century, our community of groups and services has been built to push the boundaries and improve mental health care. We have a bold vision for the future of mental health care, and we are working hard to make it a reality: our mission to build Communities that Care is just beginning.

Be part of the journey

We can’t do it alone. We need your help. So, whether you’re taking on a fundraising challenge, signing up to become a campaigner or if you want to share your story of living with mental illness – we can all make change together. Just ask John Pringle.

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