New Chief Executive Pledges To Put Mental Health In The Mainstream

Mental health charity Rethink has announced the appointment of Paul Jenkins as its new chief executive. Paul Jenkins is currently Director of Service Development at the NHS Direct Special Health Authority and will join the campaigning mental health membership charity on January 1st 2007. He takes up the post at a crucial period for the country’s largest voluntary sector provider of mental health services and for mental health more generally.

Paul Jenkins said that he had four immediate aims:
– Ensuring continued government support for mental health as a key priority for investment and modernisation
– Intensifying Rethink’s campaign to raise awareness around mental health and combat the discrimination faced by people with severe mental illness
– Growing Rethink’s membership amongst people directly affected by mental illness and their carers
– Securing the charity’s future in a difficult and volatile market for voluntary sector service providers by forging new partnerships and expanding its areas of activities

Paul Jenkins said: “Mental health stands at a crossroads. Behind us is a history of crisis and compulsion; long years when millions of people experienced the worst of mental health care – locked away, forgotten, abused. In front us, is a future that is now realisable – where people with mental health problems, however severe, can have real hope of recovering a full and meaningful life.

“Close to a decade of major investment in mental health services, advances in our understanding of mental health problems and its successful treatment and an increasingly assertive attitude from ‘consumers’ of mental health services are combining to lay the foundations of a future where recovering a full and meaningful life from mental health problems is the norm rather than the exception.

“I am determined that Rethink will play its full part, in partnership with the wider mental health world, in realising that future, and placing mental health in the mainstream of public concern and action.”

Outgoing chief executive Cliff Prior said: “Paul is an outstanding choice and I wish him well in what is a hugely demanding but equally rewarding role.”