Priorities in Mental Health
On the 1st February three NECG members attended the Westminster Social Policy Forum event on ‘Priorities in Mental Health’. The Forum had a number of high profile speakers discussing the governmental funding and commitments to improving Mental Health. In addition a number of speakers discussed the need to address mental health needs across society from prenatal care for mothers to young adults to multiple needs to veterans of armed services and finally the elderly. Whilst the event was informative and showed the level of need for appropriate services the NECG members were most struck by how none of the panel members or speakers had lived experience. Their blogs are provided below.
Jason, IF Group, Bristol
I was disappointed that no one with LE/lived experience were on the panel, and when this was highlighted the panel recognised this and hopefully this will not be the case at future events. I feel an opportunity was missed, which could actually show with actions the importance of LE/ Volunteers / Peers in helping to inform and support the work being done on behalf of people with Complex Needs.
Co-Production seems to be banded about, but not evidenced at the Mental Health Forum. I asked why consideration was not given to language used, simplified to enable and help IF GROUP BRISTOL and other organisations communicate with the LE / clients we all are trying to support in the work being done in their name.
I and other LE attendees appreciated the opportunity to challenge some of the stereotypes people both professional and public, have of people who suffer from Complex Needs as this is a Society Problem that we all have a stake in.
Mero Hassan, Every Step of the Way, Birmingham
I am pleased to say I was given the privilege to attend a Mental Health Seminar through Every Step of the Way. I had initially planned to stay quiet and use this as a learning experience but some of the issues raised really struck a chord with me and I felt that I needed to interject and ask a question of the committee. I asked ‘Why is it that you do not have ‘Experts by Experience’ within your board members to give advice as many of the decisions made will impact greatly upon those of us that have multiple complex needs?’ I felt that they then tried to sidestep this issues and they advised that they did consult with groups but I feel that there is more power in having experts actually on the board that can feed in constructively and they can then consult with the wider group. I am hoping that this will be taken further and we will see some changes in the make-up of boards soon!