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New Centre sets out future of mental health care

A new centre of excellence is set to be launched by the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham looking at the role that families, carers and the wider community can play in helping people living with mental health problems.

The Centre for Social Futures (SoFu) will be formally launched on Friday 6 December at the Institute of Mental Health on the University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus, with a line-up of high-profile politicians, policy-makers, academics and artists. The event takes place from 1.30pm to 6pm and includes speeches from Professor Paul Crawford, director of the new centre, Graham Allen, MP (Labour) for Nottingham North, and Professor Mike Cooke CBE, chief executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
The Institute, a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare and The University of Nottingham, already houses a number of specific centres of excellence covering areas such as health and criminal justice, ADHD, dementia and old age, and education. The new Centre for Social Futures will focus on seeking to transform how mental health service users, carers and professionals work together in a new community of understanding.

Professor Crawford said: "I am delighted to launch this new centre within the Institute as it will address hugely important issues within society about how we approach the care and treatment and support for people experiencing mental health difficulties.

"For example, when people talk about mental healthcare, they often consider the role of organisations and professionals but overlook the role of informal carers. With one million professionals and seven million informal carers, we should see informal carers as the frontline of the NHS rather than as an add-on. Our focus should be on the promotion of mutual recovery across our communities."

The launch event will showcase a number of mental health research projects and activities that highlight the social and cultural factors involved in sustaining mental health and well-being. These include initiatives based on gardening, music and art linked to mental health and well-being and an award-winning educational play that was developed from research on hospital wards where people living with dementia were being cared for.