Mental Health Foundation‘s Pledge: 

During 2018 and 2019, the Mental Health Foundation is leading a one-year pilot project in Northern Ireland funded by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) to coproduce an evidenced-based exercise programme that maximises acceptability and participation amongst people with psycho-social disabilities. We are working with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, and our Partners are the South Eastern Recovery College and Northern Recovery College.  Peer researchers are being recruited through the Partners and receiving accredited training through Queen’s University Belfast. As members of the research team, the research methodology and programme design and delivery is being designed by the peer researchers.

MHF is also a member of the new ‘Closing the Gap’ network, which will focus on improving physical health and reducing health inequalities for people with severe mental illness. This innovative mental health network, announced on September 6th 2018, is led by York University and is one of eight networks funded by UK Research and Innovation.  It is funded for four years and will support new research and collaboration in this area.   A Cross-disciplinary collective of researchers will be working in collaboration with organisations, which also include Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust, The Equality Trust, Keele University, Natural England, Wildlife Trust and Groundwork Trust. Over the next four years the network will grow to involve other universities and organisations.  At the centre of the network will be partnerships with people with lived experience of mental ill health.  

In Scotland, the MHF co-manages See Me, Scotland’s Programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination. See Me is adopting a human rights-based approach to addressing stigma, which is partly focused on health and social care, recognising that people with mental health problems face discrimination in relation to accessing health improvement activities and that stigma creates a significant barrier to equal access to healthcare. 

Pledged September 2018

Isabella Goldie, Director of Development and Delivery said: “The fact that people with severe mental health problems are on average likely to die 15-20 years prematurely – largely from preventable physical health problems – is an egregious and longstanding health inequality, which should long ago have become a thing of the past.  

For Equally Well to realise its aim, we all – national and local politicians, policy makers, health and social care professionals, communities and the voluntary sector – need to be equally ambitious and equally hopeful for the physical health and wellbeing, the quality of life and life expectancy, of people with severe mental illness.

As all members of Equally Well know, this requires a cultural shift that places people with lived experience of severe mental illness at the centre of their care, informed by the principles of prevention, early intervention and stigma reduction.  These approaches must be embedded within and across local systems so that services can identify at the earliest point that support is needed and enable people to live healthier lives.

The Mental Health Foundation is proud to join a movement that seeks to right the injustice of excess premature mortality, and the years of morbidity that accompany this, and will play its part in helping to bring this about”.