The User and Carer Independent Forum provides an opportunity for mental health service users and carers to have a say in the planning, development and monitoring of local mental health services.
The Forum is a local charity managed by a board of mental health service users and carers.
Independent Forum Members can use the Forum to draw on their experiences of mental illness and those of the people they care for and can voice their ideas, opinions and views on local and national issues about mental health. They can also take part in various activities to help to make a difference to their lives and other service users, including:
- decisions about how the Forum works
- discussing and giving an opinion on a variety of areas, from the internal decoration of mental health service buildings to issues of policy
- training to join a small team of service users and carers who take part in recruitment interview panels
- training to educate other members of staff about what it feels like to have a mental health illness
- monitoring local mental health services, by speaking to service users about their experiences.
- Members hold regular meetings and it is a great place to meet new friends.
There is no pressure to do more than anyone feels comfortable with. Some members come to the weekly meetings just to meet people who have has similar experiences and to find out what is happening in mental health services.
I am proud to have been associated with The Independent Forum whose members have achieved so much towards breaking down the “us and them” barriers and reducing the stigmal of mental illness”