Service user involvement

Your expertise as someone with lived experience of mental health issues is important to us. We greatly value the vital role you play in ensuring we maintain and improve our services

Ways to get involved

We exist to support people with mental health issues, and work hard to ensure our services are of maximum benefit to those who use them.

Not everyone working at West Sussex Mind has lived experience of mental health issues, and so there is a great deal to learn from people who do. This is why we involve service users in all our activities, and have staff members whose specific role surrounds service user involvement.

We call our method of working co-production, meaning that professionals and service users work together to develop our services. This is obvious at every level of our organisation: from taking part in staff interview panels and service user Trustees who sit on our governing body, to peer mentors and volunteers. Service users were consulted about our recent rebranding and throughout our website development process.

Service user forum
These monthly meetings are open to all service users and give the opportunity for West Sussex Mind to discuss plans and proposed future activities with those who are going to benefit from them. The service user forum is one of the most important ways in which we communicate with each other.

Service user development group
Like the Service User Forum, this group meets monthly. It discusses the way services are offered, and ideas for future development.

Peer mentoring
When they feel ready, and after discussion with their recovery worker, some service users support others as they go through their own recovery. Sometimes, this is something as simple as providing reassurance. But it is also a way for service users to develop their own skills. There's the opportunity to do a 10-week course, leading to a Laser Level 1 qualification in peer mentoring.

Community awareness/anti-stigma work
No-one understands better how stigma affects people with mental health issues than our service users. This can be from experience of how they have been treated by the community, or how stigma stopped them asking for help. Because of this, service users play a very big part in the projects we have set up to tackle these issues. Find out more here.

Many of our service users volunteer at West Sussex Mind, helping to support others through their own mental health recovery. Working in partnership with their recovery workers, some service users volunteer on an ad-hoc basis at fundraising or awareness-raising events, some become anti-stigma Open Minds champions and others lead on activities such as our art, cycling, walking and book groups. Check out more about volunteering here.

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