She will replace former special adviser to Jack Straw, Mark Davies, in the role. Davies was recently appointed head of comms at The Post Office.
Hughes will continue to build on the profile-raising communications strategy the charity embarked on last year, when it changed its name from Rethink to Rethink Mental Illness.
The charity also launched advertising and PR campaigns that they report increased ‘prompted awareness’ of the charity by 25%.
Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: ‘Her vast experience and expertise in broadcasting, and health journalism in particular, will be a huge asset to us. I look forward to working with Jane to build on the success we’ve had in raising our profile, so we can reach as many people affected by mental illness as possible.’
Hughes said: ‘Attitudes towards mental illness are really beginning to change, and I look forward to helping bring about even greater public understanding in the future, and pushing for further improvements in the treatment of people with severe mental illness.’
As well as comms and campaigns, Hughes will oversee the advice and information, education, research and young people’s teams. She will also co-ordinate Rethink Mental Illness’ involvement with the Time to Change anti-stigma campaign, which the charity runs in partnership with Mind.