We have established CHARM, following the concerns that we raised about the lack of meaningful consultation and co-production that took place regarding the re-development of Park House as a single site psychiatric hospital.
Why did we establish CHARM?
We have analysed the situation in Greater Manchester and reflected on the policy changes that are currently being addressed by the Department of Health (The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults; the new Mental Health Bill 2022; and the Long Term NHS Plan).
CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched in September 2020.
We are a campaign calling for radical changes in the way psychiatric services are provided in Manchester. We’ve teamed up with people with lived experience, trade unions, family groups and citizens to challenge the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust decisions to build a large psychiatric hospital in Crumpsall.
The campaign was launched after we wrote a letter to Andy Burnham to meeting discuss the future of mental health services in July 2020. We’ve now met with Andy twice and we are seeking his support for a root and branch review and an action plan to transform mental health services.
In our experience Manchester’s mental health services have been constructed around biological understandings of illness for far too long. The best efforts of our mental health workers and services are compromised by the narrow focus on illnesses and medical responses of our crisis services.
This mindset eclipses the significance of social determinants on peoples’ lives. It places the emphasis on disease processes rather than racism; social-economic adversity; people fleeing persecution; homelessness and poor housing; adverse childhood events; trauma; oppression; micro-aggressions; toxic situations and relationships.
These we know are amongst the most significant contributors to undermining our well-being and resilience, leading to poor mental health.
This is what needs to be addressed.
Our demands are not new ones. Many of these demands for justice and rights were made in the 1980s, we know because many of us were there. Nearly 30 years later, how much longer must we wait for change?