Call for mental health service users and carers to help plan future services

Published: 2 December 2009 at 13:35

New initiative will see those who use mental health services involved in the planning of services.

The Making Involvement Matter in Essex (MIME) Project is a new and innovative initiative which aims to facilitate the involvement of people who use mental health services and carers in a range of activities designed to ensure that their voices are heard in the process of planning mental health services across Essex.

The project will be officially launched on 10 December at the William Harvey Building at Anglia Ruskin University’s Rivermead campus when organisers will meet for the first time to discuss aims and begin the recruitment drive for volunteers. People with mental health conditions and their carers are invited to contact the MIME to sign up to the programme’s database in order to get involved in the project’s activities.

As the county responds to the challenges of the Department of Health’s New Horizons in Mental Health agenda the project is a tangible commitment on the part of commissioners from Essex County Council, Thurrock Council, Southend Borough Council and all of the Primary Care Trusts in Essex to the principle that service users and carers have a valuable part to play in informing the decision making process.

The MIME project is jointly led by Anglia Ruskin University and ARW Mental Health Training and Consultancy, a service user led training and consultancy group.  Involvement initiatives in the past have often failed to meet the aspirations of people with mental health conditions or the needs of professionals tasked with planning services because training and support which are essential for successful involvement were not available on a consistent basis.

Speaking about the benefits of the new partnership, Pam Hutton from Anglia Ruskin University’s Faculty of Health & Social Care, said:

"Anglia Ruskin has an established reputation for involving service users and carers in teaching, learning and research. Together with ARW Mental Health Training and Consultancy, we can provide the skills and expertise to support service users in the process of providing an evidence base to inform planning decisions."

"This new partnership brings a much needed boost to mental health provision in Essex as we move from a National Service Framework into the age of ‘New Horizons’ for mental health.  In the future, services will be increasingly targeted at prevention and promoting well being and recovery and the people who use these services, and their carers, have a great deal to contribute to the debate."

For further information contact: The Partnership Coordinator, Pam Hutton: 0845 196 4131

Partnership Administrator, Jenny Scott: 0845 196 4172