Charlotte Weir, Co-Chair for Think4Brum, has been part of the group since 2019. As a member of Think4Brum, she uses her experiences as a service user to create positive change in our Mental Health Services. She reflected on her journey with Think4Brum:
Why did you join Think4Brum?
Not long after my hospital admission, my Support Worker suggested I join Think4Brum. I felt like I didn't have much purpose in my life any more and wanted something to work towards and give my life meaning. My Support Worker asked me what I was passionate about, and I said I wanted to make a difference in Mental Health Services and use my experiences to help others. That's when she introduced me to Bob, the Participation and Engagement Lead at Think4Brum.
What was it like to be part of the group?
It gave me that sense of purpose I was looking for. It wasn't just something to fill my days with; it was a lot more than that. I was having an impact on services and people. I felt like I was contributing to systematic change. Bob is really great and supportive, he introduced me to the other members, an incredible group of individuals, all with different perspectives and similar experiences. Being in a group of inspiring people who understood me has helped me so much. It still does to this day.
Think4Brum has helped massively with my confidence and self-esteem. I have gained experience talking to groups, senior individuals and even in panels, and I'm much more confident communicating with people. It's really fun as well, that's what I like so much about it.
What was your highlight of 2022?
One of my highlights was taking part in a takeover day, where I got to shadow the role of a clinical psychologist at Forward Thinking Birmingham. It brought my personality out and helped me explore who I am and what I want to do. She has even supported me in gaining a role within the Trust, and I am now doing Peer Support Work within the team, which I'm really enjoying.
Another highlight is just seeing the progress everyone is making professionally and personally. We have all contributed to projects such as suicide prevention training with experts by experience, renovations for our Parkview Inpatient Clinic and the Tale of 3 Cities mural in Digbeth for Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month.
How does Think4Brum support our Mental Health Services?
I think we're getting it right when we have input from our service users, from people like me who've been through the service and see what's working well and what might need to change. We act as a voice for young people in the service and advocate for them.
Think4Brum provides hope and meaning not only in your own life but in other people's lives as well by contributing to systemic changes in mental health services.
If you want to help make a difference and be part of our supportive group, then contact Bob Maxfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.