The Mental Health Foundation today launched a new strategy to make the organisation the only UK charity with a specific focus on mental health and prevention.
As the Foundation marked its 70th anniversary, it also announced the appointment of Jacqui Dyer MBE as its new president. Ms Dyer is currently the Mental Health Equalities Advisor for NHS England, and the Mental Health Equalities Champion for England.
The Foundation’s new five-year strategy places prevention at the heart of the Foundation’s work, with a focus on preventing mental health problems before they happen and helping people to stay well.
Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation Mark Rowland said:
“The new strategy marks a clear path for the Mental Health Foundation. Prevention is our defining purpose and our distinct focus. We are uniquely positioned to deliver this important mission with our 70 years of experience, the strategic knowledge of our staff, and our expertise in bringing together the evidence.
“We believe that prevention is the best approach to address the current scale of the mental health crisis. The unacceptably high level of mental ill-health is the greatest public health challenge of our time. Treatment is vital, but we can’t only treat our way out of the mental health crisis.
“We will address mental health problems at an individual level while also tackling structural issues – such as mental health in the workplace and how inequality affects mental health. And we will have a particular focus on those known to be most at risk.
“I am also delighted to welcome Jacqui on board. I believe that with her wide experience she will provide strong leadership to the Mental Health Foundation”.
Jacqui Dyer said:
“I am extremely excited to be taking up this role as President of the Mental Health Foundation. Now, more than ever, it’s vitally important to address the issues surrounding mental health. I am passionate about prevention and I will be using my role to further champion these issues, as well as to improve the understanding of factors that lead to poor mental health. The Mental Health Foundation is bold and brave in what it wants to achieve as set out in its new strategy. I am excited to be able to develop an understanding of the challenges it raises.”
Jacqui has decades of personal and professional experience of being a mental health user and carer. She is also an independent health care and social care consultant with a background in adult mental health commissioning as well as community and family social work. Earlier this year she was appointed as the Mental Health Equalities Champion for England and she is currently the Mental Health Equalities Advisor for NHS England.
She is also an elected Lambeth Labour Councillor where she is joint cabinet member for jobs, skills and community safety. As a co-founder and chair of Lambeth’s Black Thrive, a partnership which takes a collective impact approach to improving the mental health and wellbeing of its Caribbean and African citizens, addressing inequities in the system is at the forefront of her thinking.
Jacqui was an advisory panel member of the Independent Mental Health Act Review and co-chair of its African & Caribbean Working Group delivering the review recommendations in December 2018.