Welcome to our library of resources and reports produced by the Campaigns and Policy team at Rethink Mental Illness. If you come across any resources that should be listed here, email us at campaigns@rethink.org.


Service User Perspectives: Evaluating Experiences at Rethink Mental Illness

Over the last year, Rethink Mental Illness has transformed the way that we engage with people we support. We launched our Service User Experience Survey in to get feedback on our services right across England to help ensure we are providing what people living with mental illness need. The results were fascinating and instrumental in steering our efforts towards improvement and influencing the quality and outcomes of our services.

The Long Journey Home: Understanding and improving the supported housing system for people living with mental illness

Supported housing is crucial in ensuring that people living with a mental illness have a safe, stable and affordable place to call home. But too many people have poor experiences during, before and following a stay in supported housing – and that is if theyre able to access this support in the first place. This report, delivered in partnership with New Philanthropy Capital, helps us better understand these challenges, and to begin to identify solutions.


Peer Support Workers: Exploring Rethink Mental Illness's Practice

In early 2023, we launched our Learning and Insights project to find out more about the experiences of peer support workers within Rethink Mental Illness services. The findings of this project are presented in our Peer Support Workers: Exploring Rethink Mental Illness's Practice and demonstrate how the role of a peer support worker contributes significantly to our work.

Constituencies that Care

Mental health has never been a higher public priority than it is today, with an attitudinal shift being matched by a desire for tangible change. Our Constituencies that Care report sets out the case for why political parties should prioritise mental health at the next general election, and features exclusive polling from research agency More in Common, which shows a public that is ahead of the curve and demanding action.


Our position on Community Treatment Orders (CTOs)

We call for the immediate reform of Community Treatment Orders based on recommendations from the Independent Review and an eventual end to their use. We understand that CTOs in some cases have provided a good alternative to detention in hospital, however, there are also many people who tell us that the threat of returning to hospital left them feeling fearful and hampered their recovery.

Mental Health Policy Group: Manifesto for a new Prime Minister

As the UK will shortly have a new Prime Minister, the Mental Health Policy Group has developed a manifesto, setting out five areas that the next Prime Minister must address in order to improve the lives of people with mental health problems and improve the mental health of the nation. By addressing these areas, the new Prime Minister will lead the way towards mental health equality and bring us closer to the ambition of a fair deal for mental health.

Briefing: Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP)

EIP services are multidisciplinary community mental health services that provides treatment and support to people experiencing or at high risk of developing psychosis. This support typically continues for three years. EIP services offer a range of interventions which fall under the umbrella of seven key components according to NICE recommended interventions for adults with psychosis.

This collaborative project with the Nuffield Council on Bioethics engaged people with lived experience of mental health services through a series of scoped discussions, which aimed to explore key issues, questions, and challenges of using emerging digital technologies in mental health services.

“We’re just numbers to them” – The DWP’s failure to investigate death and serious harm

This report is based on evidence from people seriously harmed by the benefit system and shows that that the government’s approach to investigating death and serious harm is highly secretive and not fit for purpose. It is based on the responses from our survey in 2021 about people’s experience of the benefits system and includes real-life stories from people whom we spoke to and outlines six recommendations for the DWP to take urgent action to prevent serious harm and deaths (March 2022).


Tip of the iceberg? Deaths and serious harm in the benefits system

This report looks at key areas of the benefits process that can cause severe distress for people. The DWP has been found to negatively impact people’s wellbeing, causing severe anxiety and distress, creating financial hardship, worsening existing mental health conditions and in very tragic cases led to death. Our Stop Benefit Deaths campaign is calling for a full public inquiry and a new body to investigate future cases (July 2021).

Mental Health Act White Paper engagement report: Service users with experience of using the Mental Health Act

This report engaged people previously detained under the Act to share their perspectives with the Department of Health and Social Care and inform the government's response to the White Paper. The Mental Health Act White Paper is a crucial step along the road to reform of the Mental Health Act 1983, and enhanced rights to choice and involvement for people detained under the Act. (May 2021)

Mental Health Act White Paper engagement report: Service users currently detained under the Mental Health Act

This is a second engagement report, which engaged people currently detained under the Act to share their perspectives with the Department of Health and Social Care and inform the government's response to the Mental Health Act White Paper. (May 2021)

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. 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 (April 2021).

Keep thinking differently

Rethink Mental Illness’s second guide for STPs/ICSs to continue their journey of community mental health transformation. This accompanies our first guide, Thinking differently, and together they are a comprehensive resource to support your radical redesign of community mental health services (April 2021).

Mental Health Act White Paper - Rethink Mental Illness' response

In April 2021, Rethink Mental Illness responded to the government's White Paper on the Mental Health Act. The charity has been campaigning for many years to reform of the Act. Our response to the consultation focuses on questions which deal with enhancing the involvement of people detained under the Mental Health Act in their own care, improving the choices they can make, and preventing people from detained under the Mental Health Act in the first place (April 2021).


Managing a healthy weight in secure services

Every Recovery and Outcomes Group has an engaging agenda that includes presentations by people living in services together with staff, and interactive discussions to maximise participation and involvement in key agenda items. In September/October 2019, for example, groups were invited to feedback on the draft ‘Managing a Healthy Weight’ Guidance, developed by the NHS England Adult Secure Clinical Reference Group. Please find the final feedback collated in our Managing a Healthy Weight in Secure Services report (March 2020).

Mental Health Policy Group: 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review

This submission to Comprehensive Spending Review sets out the priorities of Rethink Mental Illness and members of the Mental Health Policy Group. It covers several areas, notably capital investment in mental health services and in the social care and community services people severely affected by mental illness need.

National Clinical Audit of Psychosis (NCAP) Lay Report for the Early Intervention in Psychosis Audit 2019-20

NCAP, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on behalf of NHS England and the Welsh government, compares EIP services against 8 standards of care. This report highlights how across England in 2019-20, some standards of care have seen improvement while others have become worse. However, in terms of physical health screenings, EIP is ahead of many other services. Please note, this audit and its recommendations were developed and completed before the Covid-19 outbreak and in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists (September 2020).

Covid-19 briefings: Support in the community - social care, carers and peer support

This briefing is about the different types of support people living with mental illness - outside of clinical support - are receiving or are struggling to access during the pandemic. This comes in the form of support from statutory services, loved ones and peer support. Our survey of over 1,400 people found that it is carers who have picked up the additional burden that the pandemic has created, and highlights the importance of social care and peer support for people severely affected by mental illness during this time (June 2020).

Covid-19 briefings: Severe mental illness and Covid 19 - Service support and digital solutions

This briefing shares the insights that Rethink Mental Illness has gleaned on service support and digital solutions during the pandemic. Some of these insights are based on online research we have conducted with service users, which we have plans to continue, as well as information we have gleaned from our services (June 2020).

Covid-19 briefings: The impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the physical health of people living with severe mental illness

This briefing looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the physical health of people living with severe mental illness (SMI), based on the findings of our survey of 1,434 people. The briefing highlights key findings from our survey and outlines our concerns about the implications of lockdown restrictions on people with severe mental illness, who already die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. As lockdown eases it is vital that statutory bodies including NHS England, Government and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector prioritise addressing the physical health of people severely affected by mental illness (June 2020). 

Covid-19 briefings: Access to NHS mental health services for people living with severe mental illness

Our new report on access to NHS mental health services for people severely affected by mental illness shows how people living with pre-existing mental illnesses have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Our survey of over 1,400 people reveals how the changes in access to mental health services have impacted those who most rely on it. We outline some of the biggest problems people are facing – from not being able to access vital medication, to the challenges of receiving remote support, or worse – no support at all. Click the title to read this short report and the changes we want to see (June 2020).

More than a number: experiences of weight management among people with severe mental illness 

People living with severe mental illness have a higher prevalence of obesity than the general population. This report captures the voices of people with severe mental illness in relation to weight management and provides health care professionals, Clinical Commissioning Groups and providers with opportunities to improve care and support (April 2020). 

A time to quit: experiences of smoking cessation support among people with severe mental illness

This report introduces covers the key themes and evidence around the needs of people with severe mental illness in relation to smoking cessation. It focuses on some of the challenges and provides a starting point for those looking to provide more effective smoking cessation support to people with severe mental illness (April 2020).

In sight and in mind: making good on the promise of mental health rehabilitation

This report is the result of a collaboration between Rethink Mental Illness and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and its Faculty of Rehabilitation and Social Psychiatry. It sets out the vital importance of mental health rehabilitation services and calls on policy-makers and providers to commit to end inappropriate out-of-area rehabilitation placements (February 2020).


General election 2019 manifesto: We've waiting long enough - it's time for a fair mental health system

Read our general election manifesto which outlines the three key issues we believe the next government must address for people severely affected by mental illness - these are creating a cross-government mental health strategy, modernising the Mental Health Act and providing fair funding for mental health services (Nov 2019).

Has welfare become unfair: the impact of welfare changes on disabled people? 

This report by the Disability Benefits Consortium (of which Rethink Mental Illness are a member) takes an in-depth look at the changes to welfare benefits since 2008 and its impact on disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, including those living with mental illness (July 2019). 

Towards equality for mental health: developing a cross-government approach

This report considers in detail the steps that must be taken if the ambition of ‘parity of esteem’ for mental health is to be achieved in England. Its starting point is the belief that improving the nation’s mental health cannot be achieved through a focus on health services alone, vital though these are. A much more ambitious, cross-government approach to mental health is also required (July 2019).

Building communities that care: a blueprint for supporting people severely affected by mental illness in their local communities by 2024

This report reveals how wider community support for people severely affected by mental illness such as supported housing, employment help, debt advice and access to independent advocacy services can help people living with mental illness to thrive, not just survive (April 2019).


Right treatment, right time

This report highlights how the people who are most unwell are waiting the longest for treatment, and assess the impact of this on both patients and the NHS (November 2018).

Progress of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health: On the road 

This report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health looks into the implementation of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. It focuses on the challenges and progress made so far (October 2018).

Fair funding for mental health: putting parity into practice

Commissioned by Rethink Mental Illness and written by the Institute for Public Policy Research, this report sets out the funding which is required to achieve parity of esteem for both mental and physical health (October 2018).

Managing a healthy weight in secure services

This research report examines barriers to healthy eating and physical exercise for people in secure care services and recommends a targeted provision of information and quality standards for service users (August 2018).

No voice, no choice

Working with Adelphi Research UK, this report shows that people detained under the Mental Health Act are given very little choice about their care. It looks at how to make the Mental Health Act more person centred and fit for the future (April 2018).

This could cost lives: a frontline view on the funding of supported housing

This report shows how staff who provide supported housing to people severely affected by mental illness believe funding needs to be protected by the housing benefit system over the long-term to enable them to recover and live well (April 2018).


It's broken her: assessments for disability benefits and mental health

This report explores why assessments for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are a major source trauma for people severely affected by mental illness (December 2017).

The schizophrenia commission progress report: five years on

A follow up from Schizophrenia: The Abandoned Illness published in 2012, this report examines progress against the 11 key recommendations (December 2017). 

Mental health supported housing: securing financial stability, supply and quality

This report analyses the range of provision within the mental health supported housing sector and outlines what improvements are needed to ensure that people severely affected by mental illness have a place to call home (October 2017).

Progress through partnership: involvement of people with lived experience of mental illness in CCG commissioning

An analysis of a Freedom of Information request asking all Clinical Commissioning Groups to disclose the extent and nature of how they carry out co-production and recommendations for how they can do it better (August 2017).

A Mental Health Act fit for tomorrow: an agenda for reform

Commissioned by the Mental Health Alliance, we conducted the largest survey into the Mental Health Act. The results revealed that  Act is no longer fit for purpose and needs to be reformed. The survey included the views of over 8,000 people who use mental health services (June 2017).

A manifesto for better mental health - general election 2017

This manifesto, produced by the Mental Health Policy Group in the run- up to the 2017 general election, sets out four specific areas where significant improvement is needed to improve the mental health of the nation (May 2017). 

Speak up for mental illness: our manifesto for general election 2017

This Rethink Mental Illness manifesto was published during the 2017 general election and sets out policies for what the next government should prioritise to improve the lives of everyone severely affected by mental illness (May 2017). 

Report from national recovery and outcomes conference 2017

This report summarises our conference attended by people using secure care services, professionals, commissioners and policy makers (July 2017).

Improving lives: the work, health and disability Green Paper - Rethink Mental Illness response

This report is a response to the Work, Health and Disability Green Paper. It argues that the current welfare and employment system does not support people living with mental illness whether they are in work, out of work, or planning to return (February 2017).

Not fit for work: mental health and the work capability assessment

External commissioned qualitative research report on the experiences of people living with mental illness going to through the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and support Allowance, from the initial application form to the appeals process (January 2017).

The MP and staffers’ guide to mental health: what to do and where to go

This booklet, produced in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Mind as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, sets out practical ways for MPs and staffers to support constituents with mental health problems. 

What’s reasonable at work?

A guide to rights at work for people living with a mental illness. This guide helps you think about what changes you could request as an employee, and how to go about this.



A place to call home: housing and support for people with mental illness 

1 in 5 people with severe mental illness live in supported housing. This report highlights the importance of supported housing and argues against the Governments plans in 2016 to reform housing benefit (July 2016).

Making a difference: smoking cessation in mental health settings

This report looks at the impact of smoking cessation interventions for people living in mental health services provided by five organisations, with recommendations for other providers (July 2016).

Making a difference: facilitating peer support in secure services

This report looks at the impact of introducing formal peer support into four secure mental health units (July 2016).

Making a difference: collaborative care planning in secure services

A study evaluating interventions that improved collaborative care planning within four providers of secure mental health services (July 2016).

The mental health taskforce series

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health looking at three critical issues: secure mental health services, back-to-work support that people with mental health problems receive and how to realise the ambitions for children and young people with mental health problems.



Take action: your guide to campaigning on mental health

Whether you want to tackle stigma, save a local service or fight for changes to the law - this guide is full of information and tips to help you create and run your own campaigns. 

Investing in recovery: making the business case for effective interventions for people with schizophrenia and psychosis

This report provides economic evidence to support the business case for investment in effective, recovery-focused services (May 2014).


Integrated Physical Health Pathway

The Integrated Physical Health Pathway, developed by Rethink Mental Illness, is a resource that supports health professionals to coordinate physical health monitoring for people affected by mental illness and ensure information is communicated effectively between services.

Your physical health when staying in a mental health inpatient unit

Written for people using mental health inpatient services, this leaflet explains why physical health checks might be offered and what their rights are if they would like to refuse.

My physical health check: A physical health check for people using mental health services.

Written for people living with mental illness, this leaflet contains useful information about looking after your physical health and includes an easy read checklist of things to consider and links to other resources.



Lethal discrimination: why people with mental illness are dying needlessly and what needs to change

This report examines how people with mental illness are being let down and recommends cost-effective solutions which could save thousands of lives (September 2013).

Lost generation: why young people with psychosis are being left behind and what needs to change

Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services help young people aged 14-35 to recover from a first episode of psychosis, and to gain a good quality of life. This report examines the impact of previous budget cuts to this service on the young people they support.


The abandoned illness: a report by the schizophrenia commission

This report argues that despite progress being made through schemes like Early Intervention in Psychosis, there are still many challenges faced by people living with schizophrenia (November 2017). 

20 years too soon - physical health: the experiences of people affected by mental illness

People with severe mental illness die on average 20 years younger than the general population - this report outlines the different factors that contribute to the premature mortality gap and the improvements that can be made to the physical health of people living with severe mental illness.

Lost in localism

A report looking at how much money their local authorities are spending on mental health, and how this compares to other areas.


Reach Out

This publication was commissioned by the National IAPT Programme to support training courses for practitioners delivering LI interventions. It is therefore recommended for use by
those courses to facilitate consistent and high quality standards across England.



Breaking Prejudice

This reports investigates the stigma faced by people with a mental illness has been described as “the second illness”. This stigma and discrimination can create social isolation, reduce opportunities and make recovery from mental illness more difficult.



Breaking down the wall of discrimination faced by people with mental illness

A report calling for an end to legal discrimination against people with mental illness at work and other settings, drawing on a survey of 1,000 people. 

Educating reefer: effective health education and warnings on cannabis

This paper looks at the existing evidence of harm to mental health caused by cannabis and includes a survey of public attitudes and information on the risks of using cannabis.


Side Effects

Our report, based on the real-life experiences of people taking medicines for people severely affected by mental illness, highlights the need for three points of action: including recognition of importance, more investment and more choice.

A Cut too Far

A Rethink Mental Illness report into budget cuts affecting mental health services.




Future Perfect

Mental health service users set out a vision for the 21st century.



Behind Closed Doors

A report looking at the current state and future vision of acute mental health care in the UK.

Living with severe mental health and substance use problems

This report is based upon a series of user-led in-depth interviews with service users and carers managing complex problems related to mental health, substance use and other inter-related issues such as homelessness, unemployment and contact with the criminal justice system.

Lost and Found

This report highlights the needs of a group of people we call the ‘forgotten generation’. These are people with severe mental illness living in the community who have been largely forgotten by mainstream mental health services.



Do helplines help?

An impact study of the effect of Rethink mental health crisis helplines on care pathways.

Just one per cent

Just one per cent of service users are satisfied with their current quality of life. Just One Per Cent presents the views of the “real experts” - people with, on average, 17 years of being on the frontline, 17 years of being “done to.” 

Under Pressure

Under Pressure poses a set of new questions – what impact does caring have on the individual carer and what kind of relationships with mental health services most benefit carers? 

Who Cares?

The experiences of mental health carers accessing services and information.