It’s been an encouraging first six months co-editing Mental Health Today with Nadine. While we have given more page space than we would have liked to gaps and injustices in mental health care, we hope you’ve noticed that the features and blogs we’ve commissioned or written have aspired to be constructive: showing where things are working, why and how.

"Commissioners are pleading to be told what good mental health care looks like."

This knowledge needs to spread. Just this week I was in the audience for a talk given by the commissioning strategy lead of a local council, in Bexley, who was pleading to be told “what good looks like” by the charity sector. Better mental health services can be commissioned (put in place) in your area, but local government officials and their partners need to be shown what these look like and why. 

Commissioners – this one at least – are open to ideas. They are burdened by processes, don’t have much money to play with (though it’s not always as thin on the ground as you might think, due to Transformation Grants), and sadly often haven’t had wide mental health care experience themselves. But many of them are open to evidence or new ideas. That’s where the Mental Health Today community come in, on our website and in our weekly Wednesday Twitter chats. We have dozens of commissioners following the journalism we’re producing together, along with the online debates.

Over the last six months Mental Health Today has championed co-production. We’ve commissioned writers wanting to tell it like it is for them and what helps. We’ve also given a platform to writers who have aimed higher than the status quo where they work. Evidence has been pooled. Received wisdom has been challenged and innovations have been shared that are making people feel better supported.

Here are some of our favourite pieces to date:

1) Here's what happens when people with mental health needs co-design mental health services

Students registering with recovery colleges that co-design the mental health services of the future are less likely to find themselves back in hospital.

2) Innovation: young people making mental health change happen

MH2K is drawing on the life experiences of young people to tackle youth mental ill-health.

So U Think i'M Crazy' reminds us all to look after ourselves, regardless of race

3) Vulnerability, stereotyping and self-care are all observed in a tender appeal for compassion, forgiveness and support that must be heard.

4) Here’s how to end the 'out of area' mental health crisis

Almost 6,000 mental health patients had to be sent out of their local area for care and treatment in 2016, a 40 percent rise in two years. However in the same period, Bradford’s mental health crisis service has managed to support or treat every adult locally. Here’s how they’re bucking the trend.

5) Should coming off anti-depressants be the ultimate recovery goal?

Sophie challenges the common consensus that coming off antidepressants marks success.

6) Living with borderline personality disorder

Don't forget that you are not alone in your isolation. There are thousands of us facing the same battle, and it’s quite a comforting thought.

7) How do we maintain emotional stability in the face of tragedy?'

"Rae, I think you should listen to the headlines. Something bad has happened. Something bad in Manchester.”

8) Working therapeutically with someone who has suicidal thoughts

Things that I have found useful in my experience as an honorary psychodynamic counselor working with university students …

9) ‘I don't remember what my therapist said but I remember how she made me feel'

Annie Belasco explores how difficult it was to start psychotherapy but how it eventually helped change her life.

10) How is your mental health affected by the work you do as a mental health care professional? Therapist Michael O'Sullivan explores what can help.

Show your support for what you’ve read today. Enable us to keep finding and sharing the ideas that will better shape tomorrow’s mental health care. We don’t have to stay disappointed. Let’s illustrate and realise the joined-up, compassionate, empowering care we all want to see.

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