About Us

How did the Group Start?

Following questions raised by people using Network for Change
Guy Holmes and Judy Harvey were invited to speak at a discussion  evening in 2006 about a Thinking About Medication Group they had been involved with in Shropshire
That evening 15 people expressed an interest in starting a similar group in Leicester.
We started meeting as part of Network for Change but over time have become an autonomous group meeting fortnightly in Leicester City Centre

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Why was the group needed?

Lack of information about medication

Medical staff don’t always give adequate information about drugs

Somewhere to challenge and question information about drugs

Lack of space to think about alternatives to medication – some staff not willing to discuss this

To share experiences about taking psychiatric medications

To think about other activities that can be life improving that don’t involve medication – i.e work, university, hobbies

So we are not just taking medication without question

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Who are we?

We are an independent community group

We are ordinary and extraordinary people
with an interest in psychiatric medication

No-one is referred to the group;
people come because they are interested;
this means we are also making access to professionals easier

Carers and workers are welcome
so the group is inclusive and so that information can be shared with them too.

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Facilitation

Group members get as invloved with facilitating as much or as little as they want.

Facilitators Jobs:

give everyone a chance to speak

makes sure everyone feels comfortable

make sure no one dominates the group

keep an eye on the time

make sure we keep to the group framework

All group members are valued and are part of the group whether they do one of the jobs or not

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Ideas are shared between speakers and the group as equals:

we learn from each other

Full and frank discussion is encouraged: everyone joins in

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This leads to speakers and group members  engaging in what Guy

Holmes calls .. mutual quest for understanding and insight

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What do Speakers think of the Group?

Speakers Feedback:

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“This is such a valuable group”

‘I was impressed by the active interest and participation
from various members of the group’

‘It’s highlighted the similarities between prescribed
medication and illicit medication dependency issues’

“Keep going!”        

                        
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 What do group members think of the group?


Group members’ feedback:

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Being amongst others who have experiences about the topic in progress

Increased knowledge of psychiatric medications

supportive and inspirational environment

that ‘patients’ are openly discussing medication

time to talk about things and then do something about them
 

     

Supporting Choice

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Some people find it very difficult to speak to their professionals about

medication, so the group can offer a sense of confidence in our own

lived experience

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We have our own library of resources and research evidence which

we draw from to inform ourselves.

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Nottingham Psychologist, Bob Diamond,has called this the

democratisation of truth

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Group Hopes & Fears

(a copy of these are sent to each speaker)

  • HOPES (UPDATED 10/6/11)

  • Get more people involved

  • More advertising – try to bring in new members

  • To attend more conferences, action events, organise presentations gain expierience and gain in confidence.

  • Gain more knowledge and skills

  • As a group attend a training day for presentation skills

  • Training for committee roles

  • Extend the website

  • Contact radio Leicester and radio Asian Network

  • IT training

  • Finish the book chapter

  • Bring in more speakers

  • To make sure we continue to think about how the group is run and how we maintain democracy in the group

  • FEARS (Updated 10/6/11}

  • Respect our framework and do not speak over each other
  • Try to be more assertive
  • Use an egg timer to keep time so that everyone gets a chance to speak
  • To feel comfortable
  • Speaker having enough time to speak
  • Become too busy. Loose time to understand expieriences
  • Loose time to support each other
  • Disrespect for each other
  • More sharing of jobs such as agenda and minutes
  • Take turns with group activities
  • Taking on too much other people to lead
  • Take committee meetings seriously
  • Every three months at the Mett Centre finish early and have committee meeting
  • We have not been updating our hopes and fears and find it hard (because we are doing a lot of really important projects) to fully review the group at the end of our booked meetings

We wrote this Chapter about  our thoughts and experience

this Chapter in edited form can be found Madness Contested (2013) by PCCS Books

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