NSUN network for mental health is an independent, service-user-led charity that connects people with experience of mental health issues to give us a stronger voice in shaping policy and services.

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NIP Leicester Pilot Site

The National Involvement Partnership (NIP)’s 8-week long Leadership training, delivered in January 2014, certainly led to positive outcomes for particicpants in Leicester: on the they they delivered their concluding presentations, they inspired the Leicestershire Chief Constable, then some participants went on to setting up a permanent involvement group, whilst another moved on to permanent employment.

To conclude their training, participants gave presentations at the Mental Health Summit in Leicester on Friday 7 March 2014, which was attended by Leicester MP Jon Ashworth, Deputy Mayor Manjula Sood, GPs from Clinical Commissioning Groups and representatives from the local Healthwatch.

Also in attendance, Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole was so impressed with the presentations of Leicester service users on their mental health experiences that he asked them to come and advise Police officers on how they could better deal with distressed people.

Tania Shah, was one of the 10 East Midlands based service users who participated in the course, said “the course has changed my life for the better. It taught me service users should be valued and have a right to be respected too. The facilitators were brilliant.  The highlight for me was the collaboration between the participants and engaging in collective thinking. The course taught me how to hold back and when to put myself forward when doing group work, and it taught me about the importance of keeping to agenda.

Tania, who was forcibly handcuffed when distressed, is well placed to talk about how the Police could interact with people with mental health experiences more empathetically.

Tania along with other leadership course participants has formed the Leicester Involvement Action Group which aims to foster service user involvement in different arenas in Leicester.

Later on in the year, we heard that the Leadership training had contributed to another happy ending: participant Ben Pope, who is also a member of the NIP Advisory Group, obtained a full time job in August 2014, as Project Co-ordinator with LAMP, a community site which brings the latest mental health news for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

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