New Research Findings: Tapering Antipsychotic Treatment May Minimise Risk of Relapse: An historic breakthrough?

See article in the The Metro, 23rd March 2021 below:

We already knew this from our Taking Care of Medication Expert Group but it’s great to see that the renown psychiatrist Professor Robin Murray and colleagues now agree with us. We hope the leaders of our psychiatric services in Greater Manchester will read this and will act on the recommendations. We would be very happy to help the services make this happen in Manchester.

The report says:

“The process of stopping antipsychotics may be causally related to relapse, potentially linked to neuro-adaptations that persist after cessation, including dopaminergic hypersensitivity (check below for what this means) Therefore, the risk of relapse on cessation of antipsychotics may be minimized by more gradual tapering. There is converging evidence that suggests that adaptations to antipsychotic exposure can persist for months or years after stopping the medication”

(Note we think this is the same as dopamine super-sensitivity psychosis, a term used in psychiatry to explain the phenomenon in which psychosis (e.g. hearing voices and seeing things that other people do not see or hear) occurs despite treatment with escalating doses of antipsychotics.)

See full research article: Mark Abie Horowitz, Sameer Jauhar, Sridhar Natesan, Robin M Murray, David Taylor, A Method for Tapering Antipsychotic Treatment That May Minimize the Risk of RelapseSchizophrenia Bulletin, 2021 here.

End the Crisis in Greater Manchester Mental Health services

Members of Unison have launched a petition to demand change in Mental Health Services in Manchester. Please share with friends, colleagues and family.  

Read and sign the petition here

All too frequent headline deaths of people waiting for or under mental health care in Greater Manchester reveal the same story of inadequate underfunded services:

  • People with serious problems on long waiting lists for care
  • Staff with caseloads so high people are often not seen for months
  • High staff turnover and sickness absence due to stress.
  • The majority of people in services don’t recover as there is little or often no access to therapy
  • Devastated families often unsupported
  • An over reliance on medications with dangerous side effects
  • Institutional racism leading to excessive custodial detention and restraint of black  and ethnic service users
  • Discharge of vulnerable people to unsafe or homeless conditions
  • Unaccountable services 

Now staff organizations, service users, families and  friends have come together to  speak out, support all staff action for better services  and demand that, Matt Hancock, Minister for Health  ( Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester ( Neil Thwaite CEO of Greater Manchester Mental  Health  NHs Trust  (, Claire Malloy CEO Pennine Care NHS Trust (, take action:

  • Double the funding to mental health services for people with serious conditions to ensure parity with physical health services
  • Ensure caseload sizes are always within guidelines from national institute for health and care excellence 25 and 12 for early intervention and assertive outreach
  • Guarantee access to psychology, occupational, art and other therapies
  • Guarantee that discharge from community services only occurs with adequate housing and a package for full social inclusion.
  • Create humane and local therapeutic environments that promote healing when needed
  • Guarantee the human right to a home, education and employment for all service-users.
  • Establish clinics to safely support people who wish change, reduce or withdraw from psychiatric medication.
  • Establish a public inquiry into the practices of mental health services, including institutional racism, informed by independent experts, service users and their families.

Greater Manchester Community Mental Health Transformation

February 2021, The NHS Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults Plan for Greater Manchest

The first draft of the prospectus for the Mental Health Framework transformation has been completed by the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership and Innovation Unit, and you can read it by clicking below:

Across Greater Manchester Mental Health services claim they will be taking a “place based approach” that enables them to:

● Better understand and respond to local demographics

● Address health inequalities and the social determinants of mental ill health at an earlier stage

● Prevent and delay the need for crisis care or risk support

● Engage in meaningful co-production and co-design.

They hope to improve the quality of person centred care by developing their multi-agency team working: with a shared practice model that is strengths based, trauma informed and solutions focused; increased access to evidence based psychological therapies, social support and community connections; and ensuring the of our wellbeing of their staff, processes and systems.

They say the service model is designed to meet the dynamically changing needs of adults and older adults with serious mental illness, and those with very complex needs but who may not currently meet the thresholds for secondary care services.

They further claim that this programme provides a unique opportunity to invest in primary care, social care and VCSE provision as areas where there has been historic under-development.

See the plans here:

GMMHT publishes proposed Clinical Model for Inpatient Care in the New Park House Psychiatric Hospital

This describes the care a patient can expect during an admission to the in-patient unit.

We will be responding to the proposed plan and would appreciate your views.

It is written in technical, professional language and that can make it off putting to read.

It describes the values underpinning the service, and claims to provide clarity about who the service is for, as well as confirming the place of in-patient services within the whole clinical pathway.

The model also describes the service “offer”, the key care principles beneath it, and the interventions which are available.

This is a more accessible description of the project by Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust published last year. Go here

Should you have any questions about New Park House, you can email them to

You can also contact them on 0161 276 1234.

Or you can write to them at North Manchester General Hospital Redevelopment Project, Estates Office, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Cobbett House, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL.

CHARM Meeting Tuesday 16th March

We are a campaign calling for transformative changes in the way psychiatric services are provided in Greater Manchester. 

We are a campaign calling for transformative changes in the way psychiatric services are provided in Greater Manchester. 

We’ve teamed up with people with lived experience, family groups, trade unions and citizens calling for a root and branch review and an action plan to transform mental health services in Greater Manchester.

Can you help?

Find out more at our next CHARM meeting on Tuesday 16 March at 6.30. Zoom Meet

Agenda will include:

6.30-7pm Tom Reynard from the Independent mental Health Network will introduce us to what IMHN do and answer questions
7pm onwards

1. response to the circulation of information regarding the clinical care model for Park house.  Clinical model document attached and draft response (to be presented)

2. Planning our own public meeting to debate Park house clinical model with emphasis on co-creation, trauma informed care and thee continuation of the medical model (Eg ECT and the emphasis on medication).

3. update on Unison campaign

4. Our fledgling website

Any other agenda items – please let me know.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 423 224 2863 

See Recent MEN Coverage

Desperate families, staff shortages and surging lockdown demand – inside Greater Manchester’s mental health care crisis


Welcome to CHARM

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community 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.

CHARM Demands

We have established CHARM, following the concerns that we raised about the lack of meaningful consultation and co production that took place regarding the redevelopment of Park House as a single site psychiatric hospital.

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).

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?

Our demands are based on our own strong value base that holds human rights and justice as the essential components of any health and social care system.

Read our demands here.

Desperate families, staff shortages and surging lockdown demand – inside Greater Manchester’s mental health care crisis

‘It’s a house of cards and it’s already falling down’
Manchester Evening News, 21/02/2021

“Following her own experience with the service, Anandi Ramamurthy decided to set up CHARM, a support group which works with patients, families and mental health professionals.

She said: “It’s the system – not the people who work in it. We have members of CHARM that work in the service and there was one person who I spoke to and asked if they were going to change something what’s the one thing you would want to change?

“He said I would like to be able to go home at the end of the day and feel that I’ve made somebody’s life better. At the moment I can’t do that.”

Anandi wants to see services in Greater Manchester pursue a different approach to care involving more open dialogue and discussion, as well as focus on the traumatic events which can trigger mental health conditions.

She added: “We want them to rethink the approach and look at other ways of working to try to help those for whom the system they currently have doesn’t work.

For example the only approach we seem to have when it comes to psychosis is to dole out medication – but now it’s generally recognised that one of the reasons people end up having psychotic breaks is to do with trauma and stress and these are very often related to a whole series of issues.” Read full article here