Values into Action
Involvement of people with direct experience of mental distress
Mind Cymru aspires to contribute to the transformation of the understanding of mental health and wellbeing, and of attitudes towards, and responses to, people who experience mental distress.
Crucially we believe that:
- The direct life learning of people who experience mental distress must inform and influence everything Mind Cymru does, both locally and nationally
- All our work is based on recognising the actual and potential abilities of people who experience mental distress and of the contribution we make to our society
Mind Cymru is therefore committed to making the involvement of people with direct experience of mental distress central to our work.
Ways we seek to do this include:
- Having people with direct experience as workers within our team - as managers, paid staff and volunteers
- Seeking to have the views of people with direct experience drive our policy, influence and change work
- Work with local Mind associations to develop approaches that treat people with respect, and address people's abilities as well as their difficulties - their need for fun as well as for support
- Draw on the people's energy and creativity - whether within campaigns, or through such activity as Mind Cymru cultural activity at events such as the Eisteddfod
- Enabling people to change attitudes though training and education work
- Aiming to provide opportunities for people with direct experience of mental distress to be campaigners, activists, and community leaders
Our approach is based on the following understanding:
We recognise and honour that we all as human beings experience distress and problems in living - though the form and extent of this varies greatly.
For some of us our distress leads us to find it hard to cope, or even survive, day to day. For some it leads to contact (sought or otherwise) with mental health services as service users. For those of us living in poverty and facing oppression and discrimination (for whatever reason) the risk of experiencing major mental health problems is greatly increased.
For many of us within our society our distress and the way it is responded, including by mental health services, leads to us sometimes being misunderstood, labelled, reduced to stereotypes, discriminated against, impoverished, and excluded in a wide range of ways.
This exclusion within our own communities can have an enormous effect on how we see ourselves. Our beliefs about our worth, our dreams and aspirations for our lives, our sense of what we have to offer to others, can all be eroded.
This exclusion also means that our communities are frequently denied the benefits of our talents, experiences and expertise.
We believe that access to positive life opportunities and experiences is central to us effectively responding to our distress and achieving our potential.
Mind Cymru is therefore committed to promoting opportunities for inclusion for people with mental health problems. This is alongside our commitment to promoting equality, celebrating diversity, and challenging poverty and oppression.