ADVANCING LIVING-EXPERIENCE LEADERSHIP
Often the only person, in many rooms, disclosing his experiences, Steve knows how easily the interests of people living with mental illness can get lost in the discussion. Though well-meaning, sometimes organisations can lose sight of what is actually needed to improve the situation for people living with a mental illness.
Living experience leadership goes beyond traditional models of ‘co-production’. Now more than ever it is vital that we have people not only with lived and living experience of mental illness, but who also have the skills required to perform in leadership positions.
Steve is committed to working with organisations and guiding them to improve the way in which they support and train service users and carers to be leaders in their own right.
REDUCING INEQUALITy IN MENTAL HEALTH
The profound inequalities that exist for people from ethnic minority communities, and in particular black African Caribbean, in accessing treatment, experiences of care, and quality of outcomes following contact with mental health services, are longstanding. Steve is committed to addressing these inequalities and is working with the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to develop the Patient & Carer Race Equality Framework, a recommendation from the Mental Health Act review. The framework has been designed to support organisations to improve overall outcomes for black people and people from other minority ethnic groups, bringing the perspective of patients and carers to the centre of service-led quality improvement agendas.
SUICIDE PREVENTION APPROACHES
Steve’s personal experiences have led him to become involved in suicide prevention work at a national level. He collaborates with bodies such as the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to explore how people affected by suicide, and in particular suicide attempt survivors, can figure more centrally in developing suicide prevention approaches. Steve has also created a series of videos with Public Heath England on the importance of working with suicide attempt survivors when creating suicide prevention strategies.
The NHS Five Year Forward View for Mental Health set out targets for suicide reduction and allocated a budget of £25 million for the development of regional approaches. Steve acted as a national expert, scrutinising suicide prevention action plans from areas receiving funding.
MENTAL HEALTH ACT REFORM
Steve was appointed as one of three vice-chairs to the Independent Mental Health Act Review. As someone who has been detained under the Act, Steve understands the impact that being ‘sectioned’ can have on a person’s life, and that of the people who care for them.
Steve ensured that the experiences of service users and carers were central to the review, and that due regard was paid to equalities issues. Steve is hopeful that all the recommendations made in the Mental Health Act review report will be accepted by the government, paving the way for key reforms to be realised.