Campaigning to get women’s voices heard, at a local and national level, has always been at the heart of the organisation. Wish campaigns to influence the development and delivery of women-centred policy and practice, and acts to increase women’s participation in the services they receive.
Below is a description of our current campaigning work.
Why Gender Matters
The treatment and care of women with mental health needs in hospital, prison and the community is being severely compromised by the widening gulf between policy and practice, and the lack of joined-up thinking between the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems. Despite extensive recommendations to move away from ‘one size fits all’ provision to address women’s diversity of need, women continue to report feeling vulnerable within a system that is inadequate at best, and abusive at worst. There is both a financial and human cost to the current situation. Women are falling through the gaps between systems and those with the highest support needs are dropped from statutory mechanisms when they are unable to engage with services.
The campaign’s vision is:
- To give women a voice and ensure their views are at the heart of policy changes
- To build a bridge between policy and practice
- To unite all stakeholders to offer a joined-up approach
- To unite all service providers, commissioners and policy makers to ‘put gender back on the agenda’
- To establish an ongoing dialogue between those who devise, deliver and receive services
- To give women control over their own treatment and care, their lives and futures
- To promote the sharing of good practice and hold parties accountable for bad practice
- To operationalise concepts that are too vague, or insufficiently strategized, to be translated into practice – specifically the government’s mission that the three principles of mental health care should be ‘hope, agency and opportunity’
Women’s Mental Health Network
Wish is developing a Women’s Mental Health Network (WMHN). This aims to bring together organisations and individuals who understand how the current mental health system functions and want to change it for the better. The Network’s main activities will be collecting and sharing information about best practice, developing resources to support local campaigning and to build a united voice about the importance of gender-specific approaches in mental health. Changing a culture is difficult – success depends on working together.
Wish is part of the voluntary sector Health and Human Rights Project, run by the British Institute of Human Rights. The project aims to give voluntary sector organisations, like Wish, information about human rights and help them make use of human rights in their services, advocacy and campaigning work. Wish members have told us that they value human rights and have benefited from those protections. To improve our ability to use human rights we have provided training to Wish advocates, given information to members through the Wish newsletter and we are using human rights in our campaigning and policy work.
- Become a Wish member
- Follow our campaign updates through our social media
- Get in touch with us about sharing your experience of service delivery and to discuss pooling any evidence you may yourself have collated as an organisation.
- Speak to us about adopting a gender-specific advocacy model in your organisation, partnering with us on commissions, or receiving our training and consultancy programme