NSUN network for mental health is an independent, service-user-led charity that connects people with experience of mental health issues to give us a stronger voice in shaping policy and services.

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Work with the DoH

Department of Health Strategic Partner

The Voluntary Sector Strategic Partner Programme (SPP) was launched in April 2009 to improve communication and dialogue between the Department of Health and third sector health and social care organisations across England.

The programme enables voluntary sector organisations to work in equal partnership with the Department of Health (DH), NHS and Social Care to help shape and deliver policies and programmes, for the benefit of the sector and improved health and well-being outcomes.

Along with Mind, Rethink, Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Providers Forum, Mental Health Foundation and Afiya Trust, NSUN is one of seven partner organisations.

We have collaborated with our partners to help produce a body of work aimed at informing people with experience of mental health distress and those who serve them:

Through Strategic Partner Programme NSUN receives some funding to deliver our Mental Healthwatch work. The programme aims to invest in an appropriate number of strategic partners who will work collaboratively with the Department of Health to:

  • Advise and inform the Department about key issues in the health and social care field affecting the third sector
  • Develop capability and capacity in the third sector
  • Establish a coherent and rational framework for engaging with third sector organisations at a national level in a systematic and mutually beneficial way
  • Achieve shared objectives in improving health and well-being and reducing health inequalities
  • Provide robust and systematic dissemination methods for information, policy developments and key programmes enabling third sector organisations to engage in the delivery of health and well-being objectives


Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) for the Mental Health Strategy

NSUN has maintained a place on the main advisory group for the Mental Health Strategy following a review and continues to support the five service user and carer representatives. On 20 May 2014 NSUN, along with the other service user and carer representatives, delivered a 20 minute presentation to the ministerial advisory group on the issues raised by NSUN members and our own experience.

This followed an open meeting between members of the ministerial advisory group and NSUN members.

NSUN successfully lobbied to recruit the additional service user and carer members of the ministerial advisory group and we helped with their recruitment, induction and co-ordination.

NSUN also successfully lobbied for the recruitment of two service user representatives to the Mental Health Delivery Board.

Summary of issues raised at the ministerial advisory group include:

  • Lack of service user involvement in commissioning and providing of care
  • Lack of a co-ordinated approach between government departments on delivering the aims of the strategy. As a result the Department for Education were called to the MAG and will be recalled for removing ‘wellbeing’ from Ofsted inspection criteria leading to reduction in counselling and MH education
  • We joined the minister on a visit to a MH Trust
  • We wrote a Guardian article on the lack of progress being made towards implementing the strategy’s aims.


Other work with the Department of Health

The Department of Health fund the National Involvement Partnership (NIP) project.