Pre 1982

The National Schizophrenia Fellowship had a number of regional offices including the Northern Schizophrenia Fellowship

A regional development director, one development worker and an administrator were employed in the management of the regional office. The main focus of the work involved supporting carers and service users through 20 self help groups.


A group of dedicated carers worked to establish Northern Schizophrenia Fellowship [NSF] as independent from the national charity.

27th January 1984 – NSF incorporated both as a company limited by guarantee and a charitable organisation.

Founding members of the Management Board were: George Lowe, Ian Frazer, George Herbret, Margaret Bell and Arthur Banister

The first services of NSF were a registered care home in Whitley Bay, a day service in Wallsend and supporting a local management group in Hetton le Hole with supported housing. NSF continued to run and support over 20 self help groups with a combined membership of over 300 service users and carers. NSF also supported the development and management of Key Enterprises [North Tyneside], Waddington Street Day Services [Durham] and Blyth Star Enterprises [Northumberland].


NSF secured funding by Allied Dunbar Charitable Trust: Section 64 monies and local fundraising initiatives. The funding was used to recruit a 2nd development post. Intermittent, complementary funding was also received from local grant making charitable trusts and pharmaceutical companies.


Alec Gosling [1st Director of NSF] left the charity

Sir Roy Griffiths published the ‘Care in the Community – Agenda for action’ report.


The UK government published their response to Sir Roy Griffiths’ report in their White Paper ‘Caring for People – Community Care in the next decade and beyond’. This identified 6 key objectives and these objectives became required new legislation which was enacted in the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990.

Ian Grant was recruited as Director


NSF published ‘Slipping through the Net’, which raised major gaps in the provision of services for those suffering from mental health illnesses. The report had profound effects on the support and delivery of services for people with mental health illnesses.


In 1993 the organisation was successful in piloting its first employment service, The Gateway Project.

1990 – 1993

From 1990 to 1993 the organisation had exponential growth in its housing services. During that time the organisation also developed its infrastructure with the appointments of Directors of Housing, Development and Community Support Services, the appointment of finance staff and additional administration staff.


In 1993 the organisation purchased its new central office and relocated to West Sunniside, Sunderland.


In June the Northern Schizophrenia Fellowship changed its name to Mental Health Matters

Through an evidenced based wider need for services and through consultation with its members, the Management Executive decided to change the name of the organisation to Mental Health Matters. At the same time the organisation changed its Articles and Memorandum of Association to reflect a national organisation.


The Management Executive (renamed from Management Committee) reviewed the self help groups currently operating. It was decided that NSF would no longer continue to support these.

The charities first Helpline service opened, based in Middlesbrough

In the latter part of 1995 opened up its Business Centre in Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. The introduction into ESF monies created projects [Except & Sunniside projects] and enabled the organisation to learn from other European countries the support and services being offered.


Through support monies provided from Fizor Pharmaceutical we created a development post in Wakefield which raised the organisations profile and created new service development opportunities.

We moved our Central Office to Gateshead. The organisation continued to expand.

Bristol Workways joined Mental Health Matters and we had our first services in that area. We also created partnerships in London and Birmingham.


In 2003 through expansion, the central office moved to its current location in Sunderland


MHM support worker Ashleigh Ewing was tragically killed by a service user while visiting his home in the course of her duties. Service user Ronald Dixon was subsequently convicted of Ashleigh’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.


Newham service – introduction into Improving Access to Psychological Therapies [IAPT] Employment service

In partnership with South Staffordshire & Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust, MHM opened the first IAPT service in Liverpool

To date MHM deliver IAPT services, in partnership with 3 NHS trusts, in 5 sites across the country


Chief Executive Officer, Ian Grant, left the organisation

Helen Mackay was appointed as CEO


MHM opened the 1st Payment By Results [PBR] service in Darlington and the first Any Qualified Provider [AQP] service in Teesside