Change Mental Health was formed over 50 years ago by a group of people who were caring for a loved one living with schizophrenia.
The experiences and knowledge of carers and people living with schizophrenia has been paramount in helping our charity build a future where no one faces mental illness alone. We’ve always wanted to make our own improvements too: by evolving to more severe and enduring mental illness and not solely focusing on schizophrenia.
Since the beginning, we have developed our organisation to provide mental health training, develop research and change society by fighting stigma and influencing government. But we still commit to person-centred approaches and meaningful participation and we’ve always been driven by lived experiences from day one.
Here are some of the highlights from our illustrious 50+ year history.
- We moved our National Office to Great Michael House in Leith, Edinburgh.
- We launched the 100 challenge, revamped from 100 Streets Challenge when we were Support in Mind Scotland, to make our flagship fundraising challenge more accessible to people across Scotland.
- Change Mental Health’s new brand and strategy is formally unveiled and celebrated at a Scottish Parliament reception.
- Greg May becomes Chair of the Board, with Dr Maqsood Ahmed standing down.
- Nick Ward appointed as our new CEO and Frances Simpson retires.
- We launched the Suicide Bereavement Support service across Highland and Argyll & Bute.
- Our Community Link Worker project launched in Highland.
- Dr Maqsood Ahmed becomes Chair of the Board after Carolyn Little’s long-standing service concludes with an MBE in recognition of her contribution to mental health services.
- The National Rural Mental Health Forum is formed.
- Mental Health UK is founded by four member charities from the home nations that originally made up the National Schizophrenia Fellowship: Change Mental Health (Scotland), Rethink Mental Illness (England), Adferiad Recovery (Wales) and MindWise (Northern Ireland). The Mental Health and Money Advice service was subsequently launched across the country by Mental Health UK, which we provided in Scotland.
- We opened our doors at 28 Munches Street, Dumfries, which is home to our Employability Support Project.
- We published our 1 in 100 research, a Scottish schizophrenia survey, that highlights the experience of living with schizophrenia and psychosis in Scotland.
- Frances Simpson appointed as CEO and Mary Weir retires.
- The charity becomes Support in Mind Scotland, reflecting our focus on many mental health issues and not just schizophrenia.
- We opened our first resource centre in Castle Douglas on King Street. This has since moved to Station Yard on Oakwell Road.
- Our sister charity in Northern Ireland officially become MindWise New Vision.
Our National Office moves from Claremont House to 6 Newington Business Centre, Dalkeith Road Mews, Edinburgh in 2008. Shortly after, the new office is officially opened by Princess Anne.
- Review of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984. CEO Mary Weir serves on the committee and the final report delivered in 2001 helps shape new Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.
- Our resource centre in Dumfries, Kaleidoscope, launches.
- Launch of a national anti-stigma campaign See Me, with our charity as a partner agency.
- Our sister charity in England move from National Schizophrenia Fellowship to Rethink Mental Illness.
- Stafford Centre moves to its current location on Broughton Street in Edinburgh.
- We move from 40 Shandwick Place to new National Office at Claremont House, East Claremont Street, Edinburgh.
- We launched the new pioneering Carer Information Pack.
- The Gatehouse, our resource centre in Golspie, officially opens.
- National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland) launched its first website.
- Companas Cottage, our resource centre in Alness, officially opens.
- The Carers (Recognition and Service) Act comes into effect, giving carers crucial recognition.
We launched The Glengarry Centre in Fort William in 1994, the first mental health care facility in Lochaber. Our current resource centre in Fort William is now located in The Nevis Centre.
- The Charlie Reid Centre, our drop-in centre in Glasgow, opens. It closed 20 years later in 2014.
- Our resource centre in Cupar, The Cottage, opens.
- Mary Weir was appointed CEO, taking over from Gilly Peakman.
- We launched Arches Centre in Banff and CareLinkLine in Aberdeen.
- We launched Carer Support in Tayside and Fife in response to the unique challenges of being a carer to someone living with mental illness.
- We launched our first resource centre in Highland at Cairdeas Cottage in Inverness. Operating as a drop-in, it closed in 2015.
- Rendezvous Cafe in Dumfries opens as the first project in Dumfries & Galloway, followed by Phoenix Club in Stranraer.
- Stafford Centre opens as our first service, in the basement of St George’s West Church on Stafford Street, Edinburgh.
- We became an independent charity as National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland). Archie Elder, Freda Middleton and Hugh Bebbie drew up the constitution and Freda was appointed as the first Chair.
- The charity name is changed to the National Schizophrenia Fellowship in 1974.
- We officially launch our organisation under the name of the Schizophrenia Fellowship.
- Ernestine Adams, whose brother Philip lived with schizophrenia, becomes our first member. In the following year, 240 more people join Ernestine as a member.
- Journalist John Pringle writes an anonymous article in The Times about caring for his son who experiences schizophrenia. This leads to 400 people contacting John, including many who care for someone living with mental illness. Some of these carers go on to help found the organisation.