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A voice that matters

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We regularly ask service users and their carers for feedback on their experience of being involved with the business of the Trust and how it impacts on their mental health. This is the voice of a service user, the voice that matters.

“Some people would say, ‘have you woken up on the wrong side of the bed’. I used to say, ‘I woke up on the wrong side of life’. Like many people with mental health problems, I suffered most of it in silence, that’s exactly how I felt for many years.

Since then, I’ve been on a very long journey attempting to find meaningful occupational activity. I’ve volunteered with various charities and organisations, but never felt challenged enough, and found work meaningless.

Things started to change for me last year when I started to get involved in the service user and carer involvement team, hosted by the Trust. It was the first time since my diagnosis that I was mixing with people at various stages of recovery. At last I felt immense hope.

These were real people who were actually recovering, together with staff from the involvement team, I found out how my input as a service user could influence services that they provide.

After doing a couple of new staff induction presentations I realised I was good at them and really enjoyed the work. I asked if I could be involved with more presentations and other related work. I’ve also been involved with meetings, publicity and attending and evaluating a mental health first aid course for the trust.

Working with the involvement team is really worthwhile, it’s important to be open about who I am so that I can help myself and others. I’ve chosen to use my mental health diagnosis and my recovery journey in a positive way.

Being involved has enabled me to blossom and use my skills to good effect. I get the support I need and my opinions and insight is valued. My self-esteem has improved, as has my sense of achievement.

My involvement has also enabled me to move into paid employment with a national charity. I would thoroughly recommend getting involved with the trust’s involvement work.”