Posted on: 28 March 2024

Phillip Perkins has been advocating for community based mental healthcare ever since his experience of referring a family member to an inpatient hospital in Westminster – The Gordon.

As both a mental health carer and now Governor for the Trust, Phillip spoke in an interview with the NHS in North West London about his experiences and the opportunities brought on by effective community based mental health care pathways.

"The inpatient environment is really, really challenging," Phillip asserts, emphasising the many potential stressors involved in such settings, including disruptions, noise, and, significantly, the isolation and separation from one's support network.

Phillip's first-hand encounter with these challenges occurred at the Gordon Hospital, a former inpatient setting in Westminster. Phillip recalls feeling "shut out" from his partner's care, describing it as a "worrying and challenging experience" to feel so detached. He underscores the difficulty of relying solely on hospital staff for updates, highlighting the importance of input from trusted family members to ensure holistic care.

Drawing from his experiences, Phillip emphasises the need to shift mental health services towards a more community-centric approach. He envisions a future where personalised, community-involved care replaces the traditional model of hospitalisation. Phillip highlights the comprehensive support available in Westminster’s community settings, ranging from home treatment teams to Talking Therapies, which he describes as “absolutely brilliant”. These services are often facilitated by stakeholder and third-party services working together to empower individuals to receive care within familiar environments.

Phillip believes this creates a shared responsibility among individuals, families, and communities in promoting mental wellbeing. Phillip cites innovative approaches like Open Dialogue, the system of care that involves the inclusion of an individual’s network throughout their care, as exemplars of this collaborative ethos.

Phillip’s advocacy for community-based mental healthcare is a testament to the transformative potential of holistic, person-centred approaches in supporting individuals' mental wellbeing. By amplifying voices like Phillip's and embracing innovative models of care, we can pave the way for a more inclusive, supportive mental health landscape that prioritises community engagement and empowerment.