The founder members were a diverse group of local women, service users and professionals who felt strongly that women’s mental health was not taken seriously enough within mainstream services. Using a feminist approach to counselling and psychotherapy, they called themselves Islington Women and Mental Health, and were part of the larger anti-psychiatry movement active at the time. Their collaboration was crucial to the ethos and dynamism of this community inspired organisation.
The group wrote papers and spoke at conferences addressing key issues such as the closure of the large psychiatric hospitals; the passing of the Community Care Act; the reorganization of the NHS; and the changes made to the Mental Health Act. The approach was two-pronged: a political critique of the psychiatric system alongside plans to provide alternative forms of intervention, including counselling.