Community Mental Health Unit
Building communities that care
Over the past two years, Rethink Mental Illness has been supporting Open Mental Health in Somerset, working in partnership with local VCSE, NHS, and local authority partners to transform Somerset Community Mental Health services, proving the concept and embedding co-production, alliance development, and service delivery.
In response to the NHS England/Improvement Community Mental Health Framework, Rethink Mental Illness published ‘Communities that Care’ setting out what we see as the six pillars of community care: clinical, social connectedness, physical health, housing, finances and employment and volunteering. Based on our experience from Somerset, we produced two ‘Thinking Differently’ guides for STPs/ICSs, setting out the steps that place-based teams need to take to start transforming their community mental health.
We established the Community Mental Health Unit to be a laboratory for the best approaches to do this and to influence the best possible adoption of the Framework. We have secured a £3m grant to work with NHS and VCSE partners to deliver four new alliances around England and we continue to look for new partners.
Our Community Mental Health Team can:
- Support you to understand what is going on in your area to ensure optimal transformation.
- Work alongside you to undertake strategic and co-produced work to support your implementation of the CMHF.
- Demonstrate practically what we know works and work alongside you to find what will have the most impact in your area.
- Design co-produced outcomes measurement to make sure that changes and improvements are sustained and lead to long-term improvements for everyone using your services.
- Support local VCSE alliance formation, development and continued partnership working.
Hear about our success in Somerset
Listen in to this NHS England and NHS Improvement podcast about Somerset ICS’s journey to substantially improve mental health services through NHS, local authority and VCSE partnership.
Contact our team
Meet our team
Will is associate director of programme innovation and has worked closely with colleagues in the policy and practice team to shape our response to the most exciting – and challenging – moment in our history of delivering services: the Community Mental Health Framework. The challenge for Rethink is learning how to deliver in a new kind of deep partnership with the community, the NHS, local authorities and others. Only by deep listening to what people say they need for their recovery and wellbeing and then leveraging the assets of the whole community can we meet the challenge and make the transformative change so needed and so overdue. Will has a background in coalition-building in charities like the Save the Children and the Prison Reform Trust.
Helen Garnham is Head of Equalities in the Mental Health Community Development Unit. Helen will be the voice of equalities in the unit, ensuring that it is embedded within all of the work and will lead on engaging with partners on the social determinants of health, including but not limited to income, housing and employment. She has a background in working for national government in a range of roles from policy development to project management. She has been seconded from Public Health England, where she was National Programme Manager for Public Mental Health.
Beccy Wardle is the Head of NHS Collaboration and acted as the programme lead for the Somerset Open Mental Health alliance of VCSE providers, developing the alliance and supporting all system players from NHS trusts to grassroots providers to mobilise effectively and deliver community mental health transformation. Beccy is a member of our Community Mental Health Framework Unit which works to ensure the CMHF is delivered in a way that maximises outcomes for service users and communities on whole
Kaneez Shaid is Head of Community Engagement at Rethink Mental Illness and joined in April 2021. Previously she was Chair of Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation where she led Britain’s largest civil alliance, representing over half a million people in 600 member institutions. She has been actively involved in social justice campaigning work for over 20 years, trained in community organising and is committed to enabling others, facing injustice and struggle, to help build the world as it should be.
Mark Trewin is the Head of Alliance Building at Rethink Mental Illness. Mark is a mental health social worker by training and has worked in various roles across the NHS and Local Authorities mental health services. More recently, Mark was the mental health social work lead for the Dept of Health and Social Care and the social care advisor for NHSE/I, working on the Mental Health Act review, breathing space legislation, social work workforce planning and Covid-19 support. Mark was shortlisted for the lifetime achievement award at the social worker of the year awards in 2017.
Sam is the Head of Co-production and Involvement and has been a member of Rethink's Policy and Practice team since 2017, leading on co-production facilitation of whole system mental health transformation in different health and care partnerships, including NW London and Somerset. She now leads our co-production and involvement practice across the organisation and works as a member of the Community Mental Health Unit overseeing co-production planning, activity and evaluation. She has wide experience of co-producing with different stakeholder groups and has over twenty years’ experience of creative and strategic development approaches from both the charity and business sectors.
Our vision and impact
We work tirelessly to transform the lives of everyone severely affected by mental illness, and how our nation approaches mental illness. We provide over 200 services, 140 local support groups and run campaigns that bring about real change.
Find out more Our vision and impact
Our strategy for 2021-23
Rethink Mental Illness is the charity for people severely affected by mental illness. Our mission is to lead the way to a better quality of life for everyone severely affected by mental illness. This includes people with lived experience, their carers, families and friends. This page sets out our strategy for 2021 - 2023.
Read more Our strategy for 2021-23
Our advice and information service
The Rethink Mental Illness advice and information service offers practical help on a wide range of topics such as The Mental Health Act, community care, welfare benefits, and carers rights. We also offer general information on living with mental illness, medication and care.
Find out more Our advice and information service
Our groups and services
We know that if people don’t receive the right support, mental illness can destroy their lives. We recognise gaps in service provision and respond to these by developing and delivering services that provide high-quality care and support to people severely affected by mental illness.
Find out more Our groups and services