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Pictured (from left to right): Steve Shrubb (²gether NHS Foundation Trust), Paul Jenkins (CEO of Rethink Mental Illness), Helen Maplestone (²gether NHS Foundation Trust), and Norman Lamb (Minister of State for Care and Support).

National charity Rethink Mental Illness has teamed up with ²gether NHS Foundation Trust  to launch a ground-breaking project to improve services for people with schizophrenia and psychosis.
 
The Rethink Mental Illness Innovation Network, launched yesterday (4th September) in the House of Commons, will see ²gether join with the charity to test new and innovative services for people affected by severe mental illness.
 
It will focus on issues like improving mental health hospital care, tackling physical health problems, and helping people with mental illness get into employment.
 
This follows a report last year from the charity’s Schizophrenia Commission, which revealed catastrophic failings in the state of care for people with schizophrenia and psychosis.
 
The new project hopes to transform mental health services by putting some of the Commission’s recommendations into practice
 
Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “Last year the Schizophrenia Commission showed that care and treatment for patients is nowhere near good enough. It highlighted that people with schizophrenia are dying 15-20 years earlier than the general population and that only 7 percent are able to get a job. Too many people are falling through the gaps in the system and ending up in prison or homeless.”
 
“But by developing better services, we can transform people’s lives. We’ve launched the project with ²gether NHS Foundation Trust to help us find out what services work best for people with schizophrenia and psychosis, and to put them in place in the NHS. It could make a massive difference to people who are affected by mental illness.”
 
Shaun Clee, Chief Executive of ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an extremely important project that we are very pleased to be involved with. Whilst care for people with schizophrenia and psychosis in Gloucestershire is among the best in the UK we are always keen to improve still further and learn from colleagues elsewhere.
 
“The inequalities faced nationally by individuals experiencing schizophrenia and psychosis are simply unacceptable, and we are proud to have been invited to work in partnership with Rethink Mental Illness to be at the forefront of work to improve the care and support provided to thousands of people.”

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