SANE was established in 1986 to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness following the overwhelming public response to a series of articles featured in The Times newspaper entitled The Forgotten Illness. Written by Marjorie Wallace, now SANE's chief executive, the articles exposed the neglect of people suffering from mental illness and the poverty of services and information.
SANE has three objectives:
- To raise awareness and combat stigma about mental illness, educating and campaigning to improve mental health services
- To provide care and support for people with mental health problems, their families and carers as well as information for other organisations and the public
- To initiate research into the causes and treatments of serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and depression and the psychological and social impact of mental illness