20 May 2022

The Mental Health Implementation Network (MHIN) is a nationwide NIHR-funded programme that connects mental health stakeholders across government, health services, the third sector, universities, Applied Research Collaborations, commissioners, Academic Health Science Networks, and Experts by Experience and the public, to catalyse the implementation of effective mental health interventions. It is funded by the NIHR for three years until October 2023.

The launch was chaired by Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, King’s College London, who explained that the event was designed to provide mental health stakeholders the opportunity to discuss and help define the interventions by sharing their experiences.

Following this Steve Gilbert, OBE, an Anti-Racism Consultant and Expert by Experience spoke powerfully about his experiences of mental health and racial discrimination and how this has informed his work aiming to improve mental health care in England, particularly working with the NHS Race and Health Observatory.

Steve invited everyone at the event to consider the question:

How can networks like the MHIN work with the NHS to scale up mental health interventions across England to address inequality in access, experience and outcomes?

Steve Gilbert, OBE, an Anti-Racism Consultant and Expert by Experience

In the next section, Professor Colin Drummond, King’s College London, who leads the MHIN, outlined the aims of the programme and the four areas of mental health care that have been prioritised for support with interventions. These are: 

Professor Drummond said: "By the end of the programme we should be able to advise Government and mental health providers on the best way to implement mental health care in England”, outlining what the MHIN aims to achieve (pictured below).  

Emeritus Professor Peter Littlejohns and Dr Shalini Ahuja, King's College London, then provided an overview of how the MHIN has consulted with more than 150 stakeholders in a prioritisation process to identify the top areas of unmet mental health need, which also have evidence-based interventions.

Through collaborative workshops the MHIN has refined these areas into four projects, balancing local need, effectiveness of the intervention, and readiness for implementation (see below).  

Attendees were then invited to join parallel breakout room discussions around the evidence-based interventions and possible solutions to these key priority areas. Following this, Professor Eileen Kaner, Professor of Public Health & Primary Care Research at Newcastle University, offered some concluding remarks.

The event received positive feedback from attendees who enjoyed the presentations, particularly valuing the contribution from Steve Gilbert, the breakout sessions and the polls.

I feel the network brought together the fundamental reason why it is important to collaborate knowledge and life experiences of individual cases. What I feel the network has to do is ensure that at ‘ground level' those that are at the front line of these services are equipped with understanding the needs of individuals

Attendee at the MHIN launch

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