Friday, 9 March 2018

New group aims to make the voices of people living with mental health issues heard.

In December, North Staffs Voice for Mental Health (NSVMH) closed after losing its funding, now some of the charity’s former trustees are looking to launch a new group.

Hear Our Voices will be a campaign group speaking up for people who use mental health services in the Stoke-on-Trent area. They will also tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness by promoting positive images of people living well in recovery.

Former NSVMH Chair Adam Colclough had been working to help set up the new group, he said: ‘when North Staffs Voice closed down many people were worried that there would be nobody to speak up for them, I and several other trustees decided that we needed to do something’.

He added: ‘Over the past couple of months we have been speaking to local mental health charities and there are a number of opportunities for us to get involved and make a difference’.

Jane Clewes, a former trustee of NSVMH who has been helping to set up the new group said: ‘People with mental health problems can be reticent to speak out as individuals about the services they are receiving, but as a group their views can be represented and shared more easily.’

Speaking about the role the group hopes to play in monitoring services and identifying areas of improvement she said: ‘In this age of target-driven health services, reminders from a user group about what is important to the patient can be helpful.’

Hear Our Voices will be holding an inaugural meeting at The American on Waterloo Road in Cobridge on Wednesday 14th March, access is by the front door of the building only,

At the meeting members will discuss the aims of the group and elect a steering group to lead the project

Anyone who uses local mental health services, carers, or who wants to support a positive image of people living with mental health conditions is welcome to come along. The meeting will take place between 6pm and 8pm.

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