What BIMHN Does

BIMHN is the Bristol Independent Mental Health Network. BIMHN works in the interest of both those with lived experience of mental health; and past, current and future users of Bristol’s mental health services; by

  • providing a safe space for people to confidentially share their needs and experiences of local mental health services
  • holding local mental health service providers to account
  • campaigning for change by challenging mental health stigma and promoting a positive understanding of mental health through education
  • influencing local healthcare organisations and other authorities to take into account the needs and experiences of those with lived experience of mental health
  • actively contributing to design, introduction, and re-commissioning of local mental health services.

How BIMHN Works

BIMHN is the largest branch of the Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN). IMHN is a membership-led organisation. To join BIMHN as a either an associate or full member, you will need to join the Independent Mental Health Network – your location depends on which branch you are allocated to.

BIMHN is co-ordinated by a committee, which is elected by BIMHN’s membership annually. Click here to read more about the committee, its roles, and the current post-holders.


How BIMHN Started

During the year 2010 and onward, it became increasingly clear to service users and carers that the mental health provision in our area was unsatisfactory and was failing to deliver to previously agreed service standards. Therefore, it was decided by Bristol Primary Care (who later became Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (‘CCG’), now the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG) that a new mental health service would be developed.

Much consultation then followed to ensure that all service users and carers could have their say on what they wanted and expected from a new mental health service. Via these discussions, it was agreed that any new service should be Bristol based and specific to Bristol area.

It had also become clear a new service user group was required – the old service user group had previously disbanded. Meetings were therefore held to discuss the possibility of such a group and if, when, and how it should be formed – numerous views and opinions were shared. As a result, the Bristol Independent Mental Health Network formed, and this group would seek to represent all mental health groups and individuals within the Bristol area. BIMHN officially formed in August 2014 with a number of committee members being elected by the membership for the initial 12 months, and the first Annual General Meeting took place in August 2015.

BIMHN is now part of the Independent Mental Health Network. IMHN supports BIMHN and its other branches by working with the branch committee and members to help the group achieve its aims.