1. Give a voice to women who are service users
The Network will be a user-led forum, with these women’s concerns and viewpoints reaching influencers and decision makers, as well as practitioners across the Network’s core sectors.
The WMHN will promote a clear message: the Network is to highlight the concerns and barriers women face directly on the ground.
2. Promote the benefits of women-only services
As experts in women-only services and mental health, the Network will promote approaches known to be effective for women, based on what women say works for them from the evidence collected.
The Network will drive forward wider implementation of methods that genuinely improve outcomes for individual women, for society overall, and reduce reoffending. These are primarily wrap-around, inclusive, quality gender-specific services that help join up the fragmented journeys female service users are forced to take.
3. Highlight the complexities of women’s mental health
We would like to ensure that there is understanding that some groups of women will experience poorer levels of mental health because of racism, sexism, homelessness, past abuse and trauma, substance use, offending, discrimination and disadvantage in society; and recognise the impact of, and link between, mental health and violence against women and girls.
4. Ensure policies are implemented
The majority of policies that ensure good treatment and support for women with mental health needs, and for women in prison or secure hospitals, are actually already in place. A key aim of the Network is therefore to ensure that these policies are implemented thoroughly across the criminal justice and health sectors and in women’s services, and to remind professional bodies/service providers, such as NICE, of relevant legislation and guidance.The Network will seek accreditation from NICE so they can support the findings to be rolled out nationally.