Our focus on service user involvement is at the heart of our philosophy and shapes every aspect of our work. It means putting the people who use our services in control of the care and support they receive. Our experience proves that this helps them overcome mental health issues and lead more fulfilling lives.
What is the Service User Involvement Directorate?
Our Service User Involvement Directorate works in a variety of ways to give users of our mental health services a voice at every level of Together and to raise awareness of mental health issues more widely.
- develops service user involvement and leadership within Together
- creates links between other individuals and groups beyond Together to influence local, regional and national decisions about mental health care
- publishes guides, runs workshops and makes connections with universities and other organisations
- takes on tenders and contracts for projects relating to mental health service user involvement, such as financial literacy programmes and skills training
- develops peer-to-peer initiatives.
Who runs the Directorate?
The Directorate is run by a team led by Anne Beales, who has used mental health services herself. They are supported by people working locally who through their involvement are able to use their collective experience to influence Together nationally. Staff and all volunteers have accessed mental health services or experienced mental health issues themselves.
Developing service user involvement locally, nationally and regionally
The Directorate runs projects that develop mental health service user involvement and leadership in:
- Lancaster & Morecambe
- East Lancashire
- Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
- The Priory
- South London & Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Foundation Trust
- Care UK
and other locations.
A national voice for mental health service users
We have an official role putting forward the views of people who use mental health services to the Ministerial Advisory Group on Mental Health – (Equalities). The Director is also a service user consultant to the NHS Confederations’ Mental Health Board. The Board includes representatives of 60 mental health trusts who meet four times a year to discuss issues and resolve problems. The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) provides contact details for service user organisations across the country.
Regional and national steering groups
People who access Together’s services can attend our quarterly Regional Steering Groups, which enable people to take part in local activities and initiatives internally and externally. From the Regional Steering Groups, people can become elected to the National Steering Group. This gives them a chance to discuss issues and influence the direction of both the Directorate’s activities and Together as a whole.
The National Steering Group has two places on the Together Board of Trustees, and the Board also has two other places for people who have ‘lived experience’. In this way service users influence and offer a lead, based on their experience, on a range of issues, from governance through to our local projects.
Consultation with parents of children with mental health issues in Kingston
Together has been commissioned by Kingston Council Public Health Department to undertake a consultation with parents of children with emotional or mental health issues. The consultation will inform the development of a pilot service in Kingston for such parents.
For more information and to take part in the consultation, please see the consultation flyer.