What is GAP Hackney?

GAP Hackney is a group of mental health service users working with City and Hackney Mind, in partnership with Hackney Council.

We champion ‘Experts by Experience’

 Our vision is to create a platform from which the voices of those who have lived experience of mental health difficulties can have real impact. 

“ It seems there are currently no truly effective forums where discussions of our experience of mental health services are heard by the people who need to hear it, so nothing actually gets done” – City and Hackney Mind client


We at GAP Hackney believe that by opening the lines of communication between policy makers and those with lived experience of mental heath issues, we will in turn close the gaps in understanding and allow service users and service creators to work together to build relevant services and the most effective support.

“It sometimes feels like efforts to involve service users – terms like co-production are just token gestures. Our input is not really valued and seems to have no real impact."
– Mental health service user

By working directly with key decision makers, Group Action in Politics raises the voices of service users and people with lived experience to a level at which their valuable knowledge and experiences will be taken seriously and have a direct impact on the policies that affect them.

This, in conjunction with the expertise of professionals, will not only empower people with lived experience of mental illness, but also ensure that services provided are fit for purpose. We believe this will ensure lasting changes that advance the health, wellbeing and safety of borough residents by influencing policy and practice.


"We need to make the provision of metal health support and services less of a box ticking chart and provide a truly meaningful partnership mechanism for us to see the changes in the system that we desperately need.”
– GAP member 

Our group discussion forums, often attended by key council figures, provide a safe and productive space to discuss topics such as:

  • Housing issues
  • Therapy provision
  • Inpatient discharge procedure
  • Continuous support
  • Advocacy
  • Crisis services
  • Client autonomy
  • Treatment issues and patient rights

We hope that through the GAP Hackney Project we make a valuable contribution to:

  • Tackling stigma
  • Promoting political participation
  • Educating and improving understanding

Get Involved!

The GAP Hackney Project establishes three levels of representation:

  1. Group discussion forums to collate the views of local people
  2. A working group of professionals and advocates to consider relevant policies
  3. A board of advocates with lived experience to attend key council meetings and fora, strengthening the voices of those with mental health conditions

 If you want to contribute to the conversation and help make the much needed changes in the community and to mental health services…

Get in touch to register your interest!

Either drop in to City and Hackney Mind to sign up, or email CHM’s political engagement volunteer:

[email protected]