What is the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities?

Introduction

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities is part of the Mental Health Foundation, a UK charity founded in 1949, and operates as a directorate within the charity.

Background

The Mental Health Foundation originally funded research in both learning disabilities and mental health.

In 1999, it created the separate Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

The aim of the Foundation is to promote the rights, quality of life and opportunities of people with learning disabilities and their families.

What is the Mental Health Foundation (UK)?

Introduction

The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity, whose mission is “to help people to thrive through understanding, protecting, and sustaining their mental health.”

Refer to Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

Brief History

The Mental Health Foundation was founded in 1940 as the Mental Health Research Fund. It was founded by Derek Richter, a neurochemist and director of research at Whitchurch Hospital. Richter enlisted the help of stockbroker Ian Henderson, who became the chair, while Victoria Cross recipient Geoffrey Vickers became chair of the research committee.

In 1972, the Mental Health Foundation took its current name, shifting its “focus away from laboratory research and towards working directly with—and learning from—people [who] experience mental health problems.”

The Foundation has also focussed on “overlooked and under-researched areas,” including personality disorders and issues affecting various ethnic groups. In 1999, the Foundation took their work with learning disabilities forwards, creating the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Each year, starting on the second Monday of May, the Mental Health Foundation hosts Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all.

Mental Health Awareness Week was first held in 2001, and became one of the biggest mental health awareness events in the world.

Themes

  • 2019 Body Image: How We Think and Feel About Our Bodies.
  • 2018 Stress: Are We Coping?.
  • 2017 Surviving or Thriving?.
  • 2016 Relationships.
  • 2015 Mindfulness.
  • 2014 Anxiety.
  • 2013 Physical Activity and Wellbeing.

Green Ribbon

The green ribbon is the “international symbol for mental health awareness.”

The Foundation’s green ribbon ambassadors, include: Olly Alexander, Aisling Bea, Olivia Colman, Matt Haig, David Harewood, Nadiya Hussain, Grant Hutchison, Alex Lawther, and Graham Norton.

The movement uses the hashtag #PinItForMentalHealth.

Funding

The Foundation’s total income for the financial year ending 31 March 2018 was £5.8m, with sources including donations (individual and corporate), legacies and grants.

Organisation

The Foundation is an incorporated UK charity headed by a board of 12 trustees. Keith Leslie was appointed Chairman of the board of trustees in 2014.

The president of the Foundation is Dinesh Bhugra and the patron is Princess Alexandra.

What is the JED Foundation?

Introduction

The Jed Foundation (JED) is a non-profit organisation that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the United States.

JED partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programmes and systems. They equip teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. They encourage community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.

Brief History

In 1998, we lost our youngest son Jed to suicide. Since then, we have worked to understand this unendurable tragedy. Although suicide was and continues to be a leading cause of death among young adults, schools had no uniform model for preventing suicide on campus. Communities struggled to overcome the shame and secrecy that prevented honest discussion of mental health. Campus prevention programs were limited in scope and priority. In 2000, we founded The Jed Foundation (JED) to surmount these hurdles and launch a blueprint for prevention. Today, JED is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to young adult mental health.

We thank our friends, partners and supporters for making this possible. We thank all of you who have accompanied us on this journey from loss to hope. Your commitment to protecting the lives of young people is transforming the conversation around mental health and mobilizing communities to action. Together we are helping students navigate the emotional challenges of college, prepare for adulthood, and thrive. Donna & Phil Satow.

The JED Foundation is rated 4-stars by Charity Navigator, their highest rating.

Campaigns

JED’s Mental Health Resource Centre

The JED website provides information about common emotional health issues and provides guidance for those concerned about themselves or others.

JED Campus

A nationwide initiative designed to help colleges and universities develop campus-wide systems, programs and policies to support mental health and prevent substance abuse and suicide. Following JED’s Comprehensive Approach, JED Campuses embark on a multi-year strategic partnership with JED to build a safety net for their students. The JED Campus program involves nearly 170 campuses.

Set to Go

A new programme that guides students, families and high school educators through the social, emotional and mental health challenges related to the transition out of high school to college and adulthood. Set to Go currently features a Transition of Care Guide, Right Fit Worksheet and other tools for students and families.

ULifeline

A mental health resource centre for college students that provides information about emotional health issues and the resources available on their campus. It also offers a confidential mental health self-screening tool. Over 1,600 colleges and universities are registered on ULifeline.

Half of Us

An award-winning programme from JED & MTV featuring a library of free-for-use videos including PSAs, celebrities and students talking about their personal experiences with mental health and substance use. Half of Us helps young people feel less alone and encourages them to reach out for help.

Love is Louder

A community-oriented site offering advice, support, and information on well-being and self-care. Co-founded by actress and singer Brittany Snow.

JED also partners with a number of organizations on educational and awareness campaigns and projects and creates guides and tools for professionals, parents and students.

Seize The Awkward

A national campaign in partnership with Ad Council and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that encourages teens and young adults to “seize the awkward” by reaching out to a friend who may be struggling with mental health problems.

What is the Revolving Doors Agency?

Introduction

Formed on 17 August 1993, the Revolving Doors Agency (RDA), also known as Revolving Doors, is a charitable organisation in the United Kingdom which works across England and Wales.

Through research, policy and campaigning work, the organisation aims to improve services for people with multiple needs who are in repeat contact with the criminal justice system.

Vision

The vision of the organisation is that by 2025 there is an end to the revolving door of crisis and crime, when anyone facing multiple problems and poor mental health is supported to reach their potential, with fewer victims and safer communities as a result.

Activities

To fulfil its vision, Revolving Doors organises its work around three areas:

AreaDescription
Policy and CommunicationsWorking with policymakers in national and local government, across Whitehall and in local and regional authorities, to improve responses for the revolving doors group. This work is informed by their research, the work of the organisation’s service user forums and their partnership and development work across the country.
Service User InvolvementThe organisation operates a national service user forum and a young peoples’ forum. The Forums bring together individuals from different areas of the country who have experienced mental health and other problems and have had contact with the criminal justice system. The forums are designed to root the organizations work in the reality of people’s experiences.
Local Partnerships and DevelopmentRevolving Doors works with organisations and individuals across England and Wales to demonstrate solutions for the revolving doors group.

Definition

The revolving door group refers to the experiences of people who are caught in a cycle of crisis, crime and mental illness, whereby they are repeatedly in contact with the police and often detained in prison as well as being victims of crime themselves. This is a group that often has multiple problems for which they need the input of a wide range of agencies, including housing, drugs, mental health, and benefits. The mental health problems of the group are usually a core or exacerbating factor. Routinely, they fall through the gaps of existing mental health service provision, as their mental health problems are not considered sufficiently “severe” to warrant care from statutory services; but they are frequently excluded from mainstream services in the community, such as GPs and Housing Associations, on account of the perceived complexity of their needs and their often challenging behaviour. Consequently, the lack of support contributes to a downward spiral that brings people into contact with the criminal justice system. It is estimated that the number of individuals within the revolving door group is approximately 60,000 at any one time.

Organisation

Formation

In 1992 a report undertaken by NACRO (a social justice charity) and an ITV Telethon identified a group of people who were caught in a downward cycle of homelessness and found themselves in repeat contact with both the mental health and criminal justice system. This group was identified as the ‘revolving doors’ group, which subsequent research has estimated to include 60,000 people at any one time.

Following the publication of the report in 1993, the Revolving Doors Agency was established by some of the parties involved in the initial publication who sought to demonstrate new ways of working in these three areas of criminal justice, mental health and homelessness. The focus of the organisation was on the people who kept falling between the mainstream services in the community.

Initially, the organisation conducted research in prisons and police stations to identify the needs of the revolving doors group and establish the issues they faced.

In the late 1990s the organisation established a series of experimental services, called Link Worker Schemes, to test effective interventions for their target group. The schemes offered individuals practical and emotional support, assisting them to access appropriate services and to address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour. An independent evaluation conducted by the Home Office found that the scheme cut reoffending by 22%.

Following a strategic review in 2006, the organisation adjusted its focus to research, policy and campaigning work in relation to people who become stuck in a cycle of mental health problems and crime. The Link Worker Schemes were passed over to other voluntary sector providers.

Funding

The organisation is funded by charitable donations from individuals, grants from statutory bodies and applications to charitable foundations. Recent funders include the Big Lottery Fund, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust and Trusts for London. The organisation has previously received funding from Comic Relief.

Revolving Doors has also received pro-bono support from Clifford Chance who, in partnership with the University of Cambridge Pro Bono Society, assisted the organisation with additional research.

Governance

Revolving Doors is governed by a Board of Trustees who oversee the activities of the organisation, which itself is run by a team of nine members of staff who are supported by associates across the country. The organisation is a registered private company limited by guarantee, with no share capital, which means it is run for non-profit purposes. It is a recognised as a charity by the Charities Commission.

Partnerships

The organisation affiliates itself to the Criminal Justice Alliance, a coalition of 58 organisations involved in policy and practice across the criminal justice system, the Mental Health Alliance, a coalition of 75 organisations which aims to secure a better mental health legislation, and the Transition to Adulthood Alliance, which works to improve the opportunities and life chances of young people in their transition to adulthood, who are at risk of committing crime and falling into the criminal justice system.

Patrons

The current patrons of Revolving Doors are Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE (Former Chief Inspector of Prisons), the Rt Hon. Hilary Armstrong (Former Member of Parliament for North West Durham and Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion and Duchy of Lancaster), Ian Bynoe (Former Acting Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission), Rose Fitzpatrick (Acting Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police), Professor John Gunn (Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham), Dru Sharpling CBE (London Director of the Crown Prosecution Service), His Honour Judge Fabyan Evans, Bharat Mehta OBE (Chief Executive of Trusts for London), Joe Simpson (Consultant) and Peter Wrench, Consultant and Writer, former Prison Service and Home Office Director.

Publications

Revolving Doors has published a number of works with a focus on the revolving doors group who have mental health problems within the criminal justice system, including a report on the financial impact of supporting women with multiple needs in the criminal justice system. This report established that an investment of £18 million per year England-wide in interventions could reduce the cost to the state by £384m over three years and almost £1 billion over five years.

In 2012, Revolving Doors Published Integrated Offender Management – Effective alternatives to short sentences. It also published Ending the Revolving Door – guidance for Police and Crime Commissioners.

Reception

Revolving Doors is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading charities concerned with mental health and the criminal justice system.

In 2002 the organisation received two UK Charity Awards, which are given for outstanding achievements within the UK not-for-profit sector, in the category of Research, Advice and Support, as well as being the Overall Winner.

In 2006 the Revolving Doors Agency received an award from the Care Services Improvement Partnership, part of the Care Services Directorate at the Department of Health, for their Link Worker Scheme in the London Borough of Islington. The same year, the organisation was also highly commended by the Centre for Social Justice.

In 2010, Neighbourhood Link, a scheme in the Islington developed in partnership by St. Mungo’s and the Revolving Doors Agency, was highlighted as evidence of good-practice by the Cabinet Office. The scheme helps people with multiple and complex needs who are either involved in crime or at risk of becoming involved in crime and becoming homeless. As a result of the project, contact with the police amongst the users has fallen from 31% to 9%.

What is the Gatsby Charitable Foundation?

Introduction

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is an endowed grant-making trust, based in London, founded by David Sainsbury in 1967.

Background

The organisation is one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, set up to provide funding for charitable causes. Although the organisation is permitted in its Trust Deed to make general grants within this broad area, its activities have generally been restricted to a limited number of fields. At the time of writing, these fields are:

  • Science and Engineering Education.
  • Plant science.
  • Neuroscience.
  • Poverty alleviation in Africa.
  • The arts.
  • Public policy.

However, these categories may change from time to time.

Amongst its activities, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation funds the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London, the Sainsbury Management Fellowships, the Institute for Government based in Carlton House Terrace, and the Sainsbury Laboratory. It has long funded the Centre for Mental Health but is mostly withdrawing that funding in 2010. More recently, the foundation has become a co-sponsor of the University Technical Colleges programme, in conjunction with the Baker Dearing Trust.

According to the OECD, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s financing for 2019 development increased by 40% to US$18.9 million.

What is the Blackthorn Trust?

Introduction

Blackthorn Trust is a UK charity in Maidstone, Kent which offers specialist therapies and rehabilitation through work placements in the Blackthorn Garden.

They offer help to people with mental health difficulties, chronic pain and type 2 diabetes. The charity’s work is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner (an Austrian philosopher, social reformer), and the charity aims to assist individuals to progress towards their full potential.

Brief History

In 1983, Dr David McGavin was in general practice in Maidstone. Through his work in the local community, he found out that conventional medicine was not able to help patients with chronic illness and were becoming increasingly passive and inactive, which was not helpful for their illness. He then met Hazel Adams (an art therapist) working on anthroposophical principles of Rudolf Steiner. As they worked on few of the Dr McGavin’s most severe patients, several noted improvements were made. More therapists were brought into the small practise but this became impractical. So he decided to set up a new trust and a new medical centre.

Blackthorn Medical Centre

This is owned by the Blackthorn Trust and part of it rented to the Practice. It was built in 1991, designed by Camphill Architects (from the Camphill Movement) and opened in December. As a result of the fundraising and hard work of patients, their families and friends, local and national industry, grant making trusts and the National Health Service. They may be prescribed anthroposophic medication and one of a number of anthroposophic therapies which are available on a one-to-one or group basis. These include biographical counselling, eurythmy therapy, rhythmical massage (developed by Ita Wegman) or art therapy. Therapies are offered at the discretion of the doctor.

It provides the usual family doctor services for around 7,200 people and is a GP training practice. Blackthorn Trust rents its premises via the NHS to the primary care team and the complementary practitioners.

The centre and trust is partially funded by the NHS, but needs to raise an additional £100,000 per year to cover its running costs. This is achieved by grants, donations, bequests and fund raising activities (including selling produce from the garden).

Blackthorn Garden

On the site of the grounds of the former psychiatric hospital of Oakwood Hospital, it occupies 22 acres and is under the direction of the Trust Management Team. Founded in 1991 and funded by the Trust. It has a flower garden, greenhouse and lath house (a framework of treated lumber covered with plastic netting, giving shade and protection for young plants). The lath house is a relic from the mental asylum. There is also a very large vegetable garden, a craft room for art therapy, a Cafe and kitchen serving organic lunches.

The garden has up to 60 people working in the garden per week.

In 1995, the garden and its therapies were evaluated by the Centre for Mental Health.

The aims of the garden:

  • To establish a place of rehabilitation through work for the mentally ill in the community.
  • To create a place of social integration and cultural activity in the Barming District of Maidstone.
  • To encourage the meeting and working together of the various disciplines concerned with mental health and community care.

The garden is opened, Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. On Saturdays, workshops are open to the general public.

The garden also has a shop (run by volunteers) selling second-hand clothes and other used items.

The trust has various events during the year including Spring Fair, Summer Fair, Christmas Fairs. Selling local handmade crafts and specialist food stalls as well as the traditional stalls.

Funders

The local community and the people of Kent, Abbey National Trust, Alchemy Trust, Aylesford Samaritan Benevolent Fund, Big Lottery Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, European Social Fund, The Hambland Foundation, Hayward Foundation, Interreg IIIa, Smith’s Charity, Invicta Community Care NHS Trust, Kent Social Services, Kimberly Clark PLC, Lankelly Chase, Lloyds TSB PLC, Mental Health Foundation, The Percy Bilton Charity, The Pilgrim Trust, Rochester Bridge Trust, Smith Kline Beecham PLC, South East Regional Health Authority, Tudor Trust, West Kent Health Authority and Wimpy PLC.

Awards

  • Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) Charity Award 1999.
  • NHS Beacon Training Practise 1999/2000.
  • Joint Winner HRH Prince of Wales Award for ‘Good Practice in Integrated Health’ 2001 and 2002.
  • Finalist in 2003 NHS Health & Social Care Awards, patient-centred cancer care section.
  • Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)/ Leonard Cheshire / RCGP 2009 Disability Care Award.

Visits

  • Julia Cumberlege, Baroness Cumberlege Minister of Health (1992-1997) for the House of Lords.
  • Nigel Crisp Chief Executive NHS (2000-2006).
  • Jonathan Shaw (politician) Labour Minister for Disabilities in Department for Work and Pensions (2008-2010), in 2012 after losing his seat he has now become a Blackthorn Trust Member.
  • Charles, Prince of Wales.

What is the Centre for Mental Health (UK)?

Introduction

The Centre for Mental Health is an independent UK mental health charity. It aims to inspire hope, opportunity and a fair chance in life for people of all ages with or at risk of mental ill health.

The Centre acts as a bridge between the worlds of research, policy and service provision and believes strongly in the importance of high-quality evidence and analysis. It encourages innovation and advocates for change in policy and practice through focused research, development and training.

Brief History

The Centre for Mental Health began in March 1985 as the National Unit for Psychiatric Research and Development (NUPRD). It was founded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, an independent grant-making trust set up by Lord Sainsbury of Turville to ‘advance education and learning in the science and practise of mental health care, to promote research into mental health and publish the useful results and to assist the provision of mental health care for those in need of it’. The aim was for NUPRD to tackle these issues by working in a different way to other organisations. NUPRD was initially staffed by a small group of people working in an office at Lewisham Hospital. After 1989, it was renamed the Research and Development for Psychiatry (RDP), moving into the current offices on Borough High Street.

RDP eventually became the ‘Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health’ in February 1992. It was at the centre of developing and helping to implement the National Service Framework for Mental Health, and in 1995, evaluated the Blackthorn Trust garden (in Maidstone, Kent) and its therapies for two years.

From 2006, the Centre changed its work to focus on mental health and employment, in which it already had an established programme, as well as a new area of work on mental health and the criminal justice system. A new look and logo were subsequently introduced in 2007 to accompany this change in focus.

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, provided the Centre’s core funding each year from 1985 until 2009, when it announced that it would begin to spend out its funds, its annual grant to the Centre ceasing the following year. A final grant covering three years was then announced by the foundation in the summer of 2010. The charity has since been known as the Centre of Mental Health.

Focus

  • Criminal justice: Identifies effective methods of supporting and diverting people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system.
  • Employment: Develops and promotes new ways of helping people with mental health problems get and keep work.
  • Recovery: Helps mental health services across the UK to support people more effectively to make their own lives better on their own terms.
  • Children: Undertakes work which aims to improve the life chances of children through the support they need early in life.
  • Mental and Physical Health: Recognises the strong association between mental and physical ill health and works with partners to review the evidence on cost of co-morbidities, as well as carrying out related research on liaison psychiatry.
  • Workplace training: Train managers and staff to understand, identify and support people with depression and anxiety at work.

What is Turning Point (Charity)?

Introduction

Turning Point is a health and social care organisation that works across mental health, learning disability, substance misuse, primary care, the criminal justice system and employment.

In 2017, Turning Point won the contract to deliver sexual health services across 3 London boroughs and Autism Plus joined the Turning Point group. Many of Turning Point services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

Brief History

Turning Point developed out of The Camberwell Alcohol Project in South East London and was founded by Barry Richards, a London businessman, in 1964.

The charity was described as “one of Princess Diana’s favourite charities”; she acted as its patron from 1985 to 1997.

In 2001, Lord Victor Adebowale became Chief Executive.

In 2015 the charity denied accusations of “black on black racism” in its appeal against the decision of an earlier employment tribunal that Adebowale had unfairly dismissed the charity’s IT director, Ibukun Adebayo. The tribunal did find that Adebayo’s actions in accessing lewd emails about her from the charity’s deputy chief executive to Adebowale, constituted gross misconduct, but ruled that this did not justify Adebowale’s actions. Adebayo’s lawyers said that the actions were unfair because the deputy chief executive’s behaviour “was more serious than the claimant’s by way of his seniority and position as sponsor of Turning Point’s equal opportunities policy.”

Organisation

Turning Point is a social enterprise and registered charity based in the United Kingdom that runs projects in more than 240 locations across England and Wales, making contact with 130,000 people, on average, each year. In addition to providing direct services, Turning Point also campaigns on behalf of those with social care needs.

It has a turnover of £111m, £60m of which is for the delivery of substance misuse services, £18m for the delivery of mental health services and £34m for the delivery of support to people with a Learning Disability.

The organisation provides services support for a range of people, including those with mental health issues, learning disabilities and/or substance-related disorders.

What is Together for Mental Wellbeing?

Introduction

Together for Mental Wellbeing is a UK charity working in mental health. Until 2005 it was known as the Mental After Care Association (Maca).

Brief History

Together was founded in 1879 by Rev Henry Hawkins, then chaplain of Colney Hatch asylum, who wanted to find ways to support people leaving the institution once they returned to the community.

The charity changed its name in 2005 from the Mental After Care Association. Key to the change was the incorporation of wellbeing, now a foundational concept in the charity’s work.

Background

Together is the United Kingdom’s oldest mental health charity working to support people with mental health needs. It supports more than 3,500 people who experience mental distress, through 100 different projects across the country.

Together is led by a professional management and board of trustees. The CEO is Linda Bryant, a registered Forensic Psychologist who first joined the organisation as a frontline Forensic Mental Health Practitioner and became Director of Criminal Justice Services. The charity has a core principle of Service User Leadership.

Together works with people of all ages from 18 upwards, both sexes and many different ethnic origins. Many of them have been diagnosed with severe and enduring mental health needs such as schizophrenia or severe depression. The charity provides mental health services by working in partnership with many other organisations, including housing associations, health trusts, local authorities, criminal-justice agencies and private- and other voluntary-sector bodies.

Wellbeing Week

In 2008, Together held its first Wellbeing Week, a series of events taking place in Projects and offices across the United Kingdom. Wellbeing Week’s goal is to raise awareness of mental health and reduce stigma. In March 2009, Wellbeing Week took place for the second consecutive year.

Funding

Together reported a total income of over £23 million for 2008/2009, and £17.9m for 2015/2016. The vast majority of funding is from governmental health and social care agencies, mainly for its supported housing projects.

What is SANE (Charity)?

Introduction

SANE is a UK mental health charity working to improve quality of life for people affected by mental illness.

Brief History

SANE was established in 1986 to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness, following the overwhelming public response to a series of articles published in The Times entitled “The Forgotten Illness”. Written by the charity’s founder and Chief Executive, Marjorie Wallace, the articles exposed the neglect of people suffering from mental illness and the poverty of services and information for individuals and families. From its initial focus on schizophrenia (the name started as an acronym for “Schizophrenia: A National Emergency”), SANE expanded and is now concerned with all mental illnesses. SANE’s vision has been to raise public awareness, instigate research, and bring more effective professional treatment and compassionate care to everyone affected by mental illness.

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, SANE’s hotline received a 200% increase in calls.

Aims and Outcomes

SANE uses the Charities Evaluation Services framework to assess its work. They have three organisational aims:

  • Reducing the impact of mental illness.
  • Improving treatment and care by increasing knowledge about mental illness.
  • Influencing policy and public attitudes by increasing understanding of mental illness.

These aims are connected to a number of specific outcomes which are used to monitor and evaluate SANE’s work.

Objectives

SANE works to:

  • Raise awareness and combat stigma about mental illness, educating and campaigning to improve mental health services.
  • Provide care and emotional support for people with mental health problems, their families and carers as well as information for other organisations and the public.
  • Initiate research into the causes and treatments of serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and depression and the psychological and social impact of mental illness.

Online Forum

One of the many features of SANE’s website is the Support Forum – a peer to peer community, moderated by SANE. The Support Forum provides a space where people affected by mental illness, family, friends and carers can offer and receive mutual support at any time of day or night 365 days a year. Users of the Support Forum share thoughts, feelings and experiences of the difficulties and challenges that can arise from living with mental illness. The forum has several different discussion rooms including:

  • Newbies.
  • Family, Friends and Carers.
  • Information Exchange.
  • Creative Corner.
  • Rant Room.

Marie talked about her experience of using the Support Forum: “I was scared to tell anyone how I was feeling, so I used the Support Forum at first. There I found a community of other sufferers and realised I wasn’t alone. I can’t express how pleased I was – I had felt so isolated up until that point.”

Emotional Support

SANE offers emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental health problems through helpline (SANEline) and text (Textcare) services and an online Support Forum where people share their feelings and experiences.

These services are led by SANE’s team of mental health professionals and delivered by a force of over 140 volunteers who undergo rigorous training and in many cases give hundreds of hours of their free time each year. SANE’s Caller Care programme provides call-back to give on-going support and help people alleviate a crisis phase or get through difficult circumstances.

Research

SANE undertakes neuroscience research to understand the causes of serious mental illness. SANE opened the Prince of Wales International Centre (POWIC) for SANE Research in 2003 to focus this work and establish a home for multi-disciplinary research. SANE provides space within POWIC to the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, which provides Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy training, integrating brain research with meditation techniques, and Professor Daniel Freeman.

SANE’s psychosocial research team focuses on the social and psychological aspects of mental illness impacting service users, carers and mental health professionals.

Campaigns

SANE campaigns to influence mental health policy and improve services, as well as combating the stigma and ignorance, which all too often exacerbate the distress that people experience. Previous work includes; campaigning for reform of mental health law, campaigning for better access to psychological therapies and campaigning about the unacceptable standard of care on many psychiatric wards.

Black Dog Campaign

In 2011, to mark its 25th anniversary, SANE launched the Black Dog Campaign. The campaign aimed to increase awareness and understanding of depression and other mental illness, to introduce new emotional support services, and encourage more people to seek help.

The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from antiquity to the present day. To bring the campaign to life SANE designed Black Dog statues that were placed across London and other major UK cities to raise awareness, reduce stigma and misunderstanding of mental health problems and to encourage more people to seek help.

It was hoped that the physical presence of a Black Dog would help people define their experience of the “invisible” condition that characterises mental illness, as well as promoting more open discussion, understanding and acceptance. In order to deliver a positive message of support each of the black dogs had a “collar of hope” and all of them wore coats designed by celebrities, artists or members of the public.

Celebrity Support

SANE have a distinguished group of high-profile patrons. Over the years they have lent their time and energy to publicising services, backing campaigns and fundraising for continued growth and success of the charity.

Celebrity supporters include:

  • Ruby Wax.
  • Bradley Walsh.
  • Rory Bremner.
  • Ian Hislop.
  • James Arthur.
  • Joanna Lumley.
  • Michael Palin.
  • Trevor Phillips.
  • Adam Ant.