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This week we are saying good bye to our CEO of 20 years Richard Barritt, and welcoming Kevin Gardner to the post.

Mr Gardner begins his new role in April, having previously been Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire. Kevin says, “It’s an honour to be taking up the role of leading Solent Mind as its new CEO. Good mental health matters, and my hope is that we can continue to work with our valued partners to secure even better outcomes for people with mental health problems.”

Looking back over his long tenure as CEO, Richard Barritt comments, “At times these last 20 years in mental health have been exhilarating, at other times exasperating, but never dull. 20 years ago the world was largely hostile to mental health issues. People with lived experience of mental ill health have turned that around and have created what Solent Mind now is  –  an inspiring, confident, forward looking, values-driven provider of mental health support and leadership, successfully challenging mental health stigma across Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton. And for many, we haven’t just supported them: people tell us that we have transformed their lives, and sometimes saved their lives. It has been a privilege to have been part of such a cause.”

Ros Cassy, Solent Mind’s Chair of Trustees adds, “Richard Barritt’s time at Solent Mind has seen the charity go from strength to strength and we are very grateful for his years of dedicated service.  We wish him the very best in his future activities.  We are pleased to welcome Kevin and look forward to working with him in continuing to deliver vital mental health services to people across the Hampshire region.”

More about Kevin Gardner:

Previously, Kevin worked as a solicitor and was Head of Legal Services for Hampshire County Council. In 2014 he joined the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire as Chief Executive. His work has covered a number of fields including child protection, adoption, mental health, social care and probation, with a common interest in the pursuit of social justice. A long term resident of Hampshire, he is married with two grown-up sons.

More about Richard Barritt:

Richard Barritt is the Chief Executive Officer for Solent Mind, the local mental health charity, a role he has held for 20 years. Graduating from Southampton University with a sociology degree, Richard worked initially in the construction industry and in marketing. Deciding to make a career change, Richard first became a volunteer driver before working in supported housing with Stonham Housing Association, eventually becoming Head of Policy and Planning. Following a period where he delivered project management and consultancy for a range of organisations, Richard joined Solent Mind (then Southampton Mind) as Chief executive in 1997. Richard says, “When I began my role as CEO, we focused on the one in a hundred people with serious mental health issues: now we focus on not just the ‘one in four’, but on the ability of communities to help themselves.” Richard is married with a grown-up son and daughter.

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