I’ve been involved in service user / patient participation for three years in various advisory groups, including the Patient Quality Forum (PQF) at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and the co-production group with Richmond CCG. It has been a life changing experience for me and has led to my recovery, finding a permanent job and feeling very valued.
Because of my unique expert by experience knowledge, I’ve been able to use my skills to help other mental health patients but also service users generally in south west London. I strongly believe the key to better services is patient involvement. I try and encourage hope and a voice to all especially the more vulnerable people.
Even a little amount of involvement to start with will lead to a stronger and more confident you, which in turn will change your life for the better – I am the living proof. The support I received whilst working as an involved patient has been outstanding, which developed my desire to give back the good care I received during my long term mental illness.
I feel ever so proud being part of our NHS which I think is the best in the world. I am so happy when I can share my gratitude and passion. My best memory was when I was to be able to share my experience at a national conference – and then received feedback from attendees that I’ve been an inspiration to them, that it gives them hope and confidence they can also achieve recovery and better health. Being ill is tough but trying to get better is also full of obstacles and challenges. That’s when my input I hope helps my colleagues and patients not to give up.