Introduction to Charter

The Charter sets out the basis upon which organisations and individuals who wish to be members of the IMHCN will be encouraged and assisted to improve their mental health policy, service development and practices based on a Whole Life-Whole Systems approach.

Members are required to formally adopt the vision, philosophy, values and principles and to apply these to service development and practice.

This commitment will need members to embrace the centrality of the individual and their right to full citizenship.

Achieving the vision and reality of a Whole Life-Whole Systems approach will require members to work with all stakeholders to endorse a community common purpose of learning, collaborating and networking. Working together to explore, reconcile and operationalise by action, the shared values and principles that underpin social inclusion and recovery processes.

Over the last thirty years, governments around the world have increasingly developed policies and strategies to introduce community mental health systems to replace the institutional system. However, good quality, comprehensive, effective and socially inclusive services have only been developed in a relatively small number of places.

In every country challenges and, concerns remain. Many large institutions still exist, but even where they have been phased out, institutional thought and practice are still evident. Comprehensive community mental health services have not been fully implemented, and are not integrated with other community resources, such as education, housing, leisure and work opportunities. Unhelpful boundaries and obstacles, which segregate and exclude remain in place across many communities. This poverty of ‘ordinary life’ in current supporting services makes long term care and support a barrier for many people with enduring problems. It similarly presents very real problems for people with more ‘common’ and/or brief mental health problems. Even where community mental health services have been better implemented, the experience and expertise of service users has not been well used and thus their importance minimized. A real consequence is the stigma and discrimination are still everywhere in many communities.

The IMHCN through its members, can provide solutions to overcome these difficulties and challenges to enhance community mental health that can provide service users with the opportunities for recovery and social inclusion.

Mental Health Organisations, Services Groups and individuals that uphold the values and principles and practices outlined in the Charter can apply to become members of the IMHCN. We wish to capture good practice from our membership to demonstrate the potential of introducing the Charters Values and Actions within the culture and routine day to day work of all organisations.

We strongly believe that recovery for individuals can be achieved if there is the necessary commitment from mental health services to implement a Whole Life-Whole Systems methodology. By joining with the IMHCN, our Programmes, Learning Sets, Education, Training, Exchanges and Online resources will be made available to you.


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