Why get involved?
Getting involved with the trust can provide many benefits. Read the views of some our service users on what getting involved has meant to them. If you would like to share your story please contact us using the feedback form at the bottom of this page we'd be happy to hear about it.
Service User Involvement had meant a great deal to me. I have not had a hospital admission for over 3 years. Indeed such is the therapeutic benefit of involvement that it is now part of my Care Programme Approach (CPA). Some of my roles in service user involvement have been attending Foundation Trust meetings and having influence in shaping services, visiting mental health wards to monitor the views of in-patients, attending conferences in places such as Birmingham and Manchester, receive training on issues such as mental health law and how to chair meetings. I have also received support in the form of a grant to pursue an advanced course in sign language interpreting. All this has given me dignity and a feeling of being valued and it would have not been possible without Camden and Islington Foundation Trust putting service user involvement as a central driving force in its delivery of services which is demonstrated by the commitment and dedication the service user resource team.
I have been involved in service user involvement for just over 6 years now. When I started I knew nothing about it and it felt as though it would be a difficult task, it would have been easy to give up however I received a great deal of support and encouragement from a manager that was really supported service user involvement at the time.
Over the years I have received training in many areas and been to many, many conferences and sat on many, many committees. I have also been involved in User Focussed Monitoring. Service user involvement has made me feel valued and respected; I also enjoy the work very much. It has benefited me, it reduces my isolation, I make friends and it gives me plenty to do.
I have gained valuable experience and knowledge from service user involvement, I feel heard in a large organisation. I represent service users as well as working on behalf of the Foundation Trust. Service user involvement is about participation and influencing mental health services.
After a spell at the day hospital I started doing voluntary work, but the organisation I worked for gave me very little support.
I became unwell again and while staying in a crisis project I saw a leaflet for service user involvement. I went to a meeting and everyone there was in the same position as me i.e. a mental health service user, so I had a lot in common with them. I was able to meet people and make friends, which was invaluable to me at the time. It made me feel worthwhile. I started doing User Focussed Monitoring; the facilitators were very supportive which allowed me to develop my confidence. Eventually I was able to do interviews by myself and develop my communication skills. As a result I have developed many skills and have continued to stay involved in service user involvement. I feel needed and useful without feeling pressurised. It also has a social element, which I would not have known about had I not become involved.