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Rethink: New chief executive pledges to put mental health in the mainstream

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2006 09:14
Mental health charity Rethink today (27th September) 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.”

Notes to editors

To arrange interviews with Paul Jenkins or for further information, please contact Paul Corry, Director of Public Affairs on 020 7330 9110 / 07775 585178 or Alita Howe, Media Officer on 020 7330 9149 / 07918 660760.

A high resolution image of Paul Jenkins is available on request.

Rethink’s present chief executive Cliff Prior leaves the charity after nine years on October 18th to become chief executive of UnLtd – the foundation for social entrepreneurs.

Rethink has over 8,000 individual members and operates over 350 services in England Northern Ireland. It employs 1,400 staff and works with over 5,000 people with severe mental illness each day.

Its turnover in 2005-6 was £43 million.

Paul Jenkins – biography

Paul Jenkins has over 20 years experience of management and policy-making in central government and the National Health Service.

Over the last eight years, he has been responsible for the establishment and development of NHS Direct, the ground breaking telephone and internet based health service. He is currently Director of Service Development for NHS Direct. In June 2002 he was awarded and OBE for his role in setting up NHS Direct.

Paul’s previous experience includes leading national policy on long term and continuing care in the NHS. He has been involved in the implementation of a number of major change programmes including the Next Steps Programme, establishing Executive Agencies in Government and the 1993 Community Care reforms.

Paul is 43, and is married with two children. His interests include archaeology, hill walking and following the fortunes of the Welsh rugby team.

For more information contact:
Paul Corry, Director of Public Affairs: tel 020 7330 9110, mobile 07775 585178

Alita Howe, Media Officer: tel 020 7330 9149, mobile 07918 660760

About Rethink severe mental illness
Rethink, the leading national mental health membership charity, works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life. We aim to provide hope and empowerment through effective services and support to all those who need us and campaign for change through greater awareness and understanding.

For further information on the charity and its work, visit: www.rethink.org or call 0845 456 0455. End of story
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