We’re delighted to have been asked to write a blog for the fabulous website of the even more fabulous Yorkshire & Humber Involvement Network. We’re Ian and Gaby from Rethink Mental Illness.

Hi – it’s Ian! You probably know me, I’m the Recovery and Secure Care Manager at Rethink Mental Illness, and I’ve been helping to organise and facilitate the Recovery and Outcomes Groups for over 7 years. You can read more about the Recovery and Outcomes Groups here.

I was in a medium secure unit from 2007-2012 and once my mental health got a bit better, I became as involved as I could with meetings on the ward, in my hospital and beyond. One day, I was really fortunate to be invited to a Yorkshire & Humber Involvement Strategy Group at Sandal Rugby Club and what a great day that was!

I couldn’t believe that so many people in services throughout Yorkshire & Humber were doing such great things – working on CQUINs, developing new ways of being supported while in secure services, while at the same time having fun!

Shortly after that I became involved in developing ‘My Shared Pathway’ (you can read more about this here) and then in helping with the Recovery and Outcomes Groups that were set up all over England to do similar things to the strategy group in Yorkshire & Humber.

After that, I worked with the Recovery and Outcomes Team for about 3 years as a volunteer and in 2015 got a job with Rethink Mental Illness to carry on working with Recovery and Outcomes.

I still have my ups-and-downs, but on the whole life is going well – outside of work I go walking in the beautiful countryside near where I live, I’m learning Spanish, playing the cello in a local orchestra and going to lots of music gigs!

So, that’s a bit about me, now meet my fabulous co-worker Gaby!

Thanks Ian! Hi – I’m Gaby!

I started working as the Recovery and Outcomes Project Officer at Rethink Mental Illness in May 2019. I had wanted to work in a mental health charity for some time as I have personal experience of OCD and anxiety. I am passionate about improving the lives of people with mental illness, as I know that with the right support, we can go onto live meaningful and fulfilling lives. The Recovery and Outcomes project attracted me as I am a big fan of co-production, and believe decisions should be made with and not done to the people affected.

Before this job I was working at a youth charity called Leap Confronting Conflict and spent some time travelling around South America.

I have really liked my first ten months in the role. They have flown by! The highlight so far was supporting Ian to facilitate the Recovery and Outcomes groups in September and October. It was great to meet so many people living and working in secure services, hearing about their recovery journeys and talking to them about how they are trying to manage a healthy weight.

Ian and I sit in the Health Influencing Team at Rethink. I have the chance to support with other projects in this team including working on a project called Equally Well with the Centre for Mental Health. This project brings professionals and experts by experience together to work towards better physical health for those with severe mental illness. It’s great to work on so many projects that I am passionate about, and feel like I am making a difference to people’s lives.

In my spare time, like Ian, I also enjoy going to see live music. I also love to travel and explore new parts of the world. I run, cook, watch movies and have recently started salsa lessons!

About Rethink Mental Illness:

Rethink Mental Illness believes that everyone severely affected by mental illness can be supported to live a meaningful life. We’re a leading charity, set up by a carer 50 years ago, and we provide mental health services throughout England. People with experience of mental illness are at the heart of everything we do. We provide around 200 services – everything from housing to community-based services and an award-winning advice and information service. We campaign to change the law and fight discrimination. We also run over 100 local groups which provide peer support in the community. We know, from our experience, that people severely affected by mental illness can have a good quality of life.

For further information, if you are able to, please visit our website at www.rethink.org

For anything at all related to Recovery and Outcomes, including our Champions network, please email recoveryandoutcomes@rethink.org or call 020 7840 3126

Our advice and information service can be reached on 0300 5000 327 between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday.