Community Support Network

Community Support Network, South London (CSN) supports mental health service users in Lambeth to have a real say in the treatment, care and services they receive. We are independent and user led.

CSN is a small but growing charity based in Brixton, south London. The organisation was formed in 1993 by local users, ex-users and survivors of mental health services and is governed by a management committee made up of local people, most of whom have experience of mental distress and/or of using mental health services.

CSN’s application for charitable registration in 2000 defined its goal as being ‘To promote, preserve and protect mental health for people, particularly but not exclusively in South London, who use or have used mental health services or have experienced mental distress’.

The CSN has been funded since 1996 to provide an independent mental health advocacy service for users in hospital within the Lambeth Directorate of the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM). CSN also provides a service for people using and/or detained in forensic mental health settings including River House Medium Secure Unit and the Health Care Unit at HMP Brixton.

Mental health advocacy works to ensure that the rights of service users are protected and that users are adequately and truly involved in decisions about their care and treatment. By working in partnership with service users, advocates support people to be informed about their options, to gain access to services they are entitled to and to have a real say in their treatment and care.

The CSN’s advocacy service aims to support service users to speak up for themselves as much as possible. CSN’s advocates do not voice their own opinions and will only act on the expressed wishes of people using the service.

CSN is primarily funded by the Lambeth Primary Care Trust, the main local commissioner of mental health services. Other Funders include: Brixton Prison Budget for work at HMP Brixton and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), for work in Forensic Mental Health Services.

The CSN is committed to equal opportunities and encourages people who use or have used mental health services and/or have experienced mental distress to join and apply for vacancies within our organisation.