Well, I’m no activist, but I like to be heard as much as the next person, especially when it concerns my health and wellbeing.
In 2010 I suffered a mental breakdown (If that’s what they still call it) and was hospitalised for my own safety, and on my discharge it left me feeling vulnerable, unable to communicate and a virtual recluse, so I have seen both sides of the coin.
In 2011 I was introduced to FDAMH and I have never looked back. Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs, but I would not have been where I am today if it had not been for the organisation. They offered me an olive branch on equal terms and I snapped it up.
Over the years they encouraged me to get involved and I started coming out of my shell a bit, joining in discussion groups and panels which were aimed at changes in the Mental Health. I have always been a believer that if you want change, you have to stand up and be counted, but when your confidence has taken a kicking, it’s not easy.
About a year ago I heard that we were getting Linda McGonigle, a new Service User and Carer Involvement Co-ordinator who was coming from Forth Valley Health Board, having been in a managerial position there for many years so it immediately sparked an interest. Linda, to me seemed very enthusiastic in her position and immediately proposed that an involvement group could be set up if there was any interest in it.
Myself and 6 or 7 others attended the first meeting with Linda and the Mental Health Involvement Group was born. We started finding our feet and everyone who attended started to play a part, bringing even the shyest into the mix. It’s an easy going group with an interest in the fundamentals of Mental Health and Wellbeing and what we can do to influence things in the future. We are now involved in a project using the Scottish Recovery Network’s new tool, the SRI2 and examining our own organisation in respect of how it promotes recovery.
Being involved in the group has certainly given me a bit of the old confidence back and I always feel welcome and a worthy member of the group. I think that is the general feeling amongst all the members or they wouldn’t come back for more, so if you fancy being heard why not pop in, we don’t bite.