Current Work

Making a difference on mental health policy, law and services.
VOX works alongside our individual and group members, as well as others with lived experience of mental health problems, to develop key programmes of work based on our members priorities and other current important areas of work.

We do this by asking our members to prioritise our work areas, we work alongside members to co-produce projects, we facilitate discussion groups and use surveys, polls and social media to capture our members views.

We then make sure these views positively influence changes to policy, practice, and research.

Find out more about our current programmes and projects in the sections below:

VOX Animation: Mental Health and Covid-19

Scotland’s national mental health service user organisation, VOX Scotland released a new animation on 28th October 2021 amplifying the voices of those with lived experience of mental ill-health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Volunteers from Jean’s Bothy in Helensburgh shared their experiences of isolation, being unable to access the right support, and feeling overwhelmed by the impact of the pandemic.

The animation contains a clear call for flexible and attentive services, and strongly emphasises the importance of community, belonging, and connection.

You can view the animation, Mental Health and Covid-19, below:
(Please note this video contains discussion of various mental health difficulties which may be distressing)

We would like to thank all of the volunteers from Jean’s Bothy in Helensburgh for sharing their experiences, and the media co-op for producing the animation.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding the animation please contact us on info@voxscotland.org.uk

Empathy and Connection in Clinical Services
Our members often state that they need to feel as though clinical staff care or show empathy and connect with them on a human level, in order to create change our members and volunteers produced a members led film entitled “longing for a connection” and we are using this to influence policy and practice.

If you would like to get involved in a project looking at the issues around empathy and connection within services alongside others with lived experience please contact Michelle on mmcbride@mentalhealth.org.uk

National Care Service Consultation

Following engagement with members, VOX Scotland has submitted and published its response to The Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed National Care Service.

VOX Scotland welcomes the opportunity to present our members’ views on the National Care Service consultation and hopes to positively influence the way in which these plans are taken forward, with particular regard to the impact on mental health services and support, informed by a lived experience perspective.

During August, September, and October 2021 we engaged with 41 participants from different areas of Scotland, including Argyll & Bute, Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow, Lothian, and Highlands. Participants were diverse in terms of their mental health problems, and, also in terms of age, gender, LGBT status, ethnic identity, and socio-economic circumstances.

Engagement with our VOX group members also took place, including:

  • CAPS Advocacy
  • Time and Space
  • Acumen
  • Lanarkshire Links
  • Mental Health Network Greater Glasgow
  • Advocard

Our participants’ responses highlight that the most important need is for improvement in access to, and quality of, mental health services and support across Scotland, with concerns that the proposed National Care Service may not necessarily deliver this.

VOX Scotland’s consultation submission emphasises the need for:

  • Significant investment in the social care sector – particularly in mental health services and support
  • Improved communication amongst services, and greater involvement of service users in decisions both about their individual care and the design and delivery of services more widely
  • Clarity on how a National Care Service would end the ‘postcode lottery’ of service provision across Scotland, and how eligibility criteria can allow everyone to access the support they need, when they need it

You can read VOX Scotland’s full consultation response below:

VOX National Care Service Consultation Response

Collective Advocacy Consultation
The Mental Health Law Review’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Advisory Group have asked VOX (and other collective advocacy organisations) to respond to a consultation seeking to understand the current picture in relation to collective advocacy, and how collective advocacy could potentially be strengthened. We have pulled together our views on this as a national collective advocacy organisation. For further information contact Wendy on wmcauslan@mentalhealth.org.uk
Snapshot of Views
We are going to develop a new mechanism to hear from 100 people with lived experience through a “VOX snapshot” mechanism – this is in development, and the purpose will be to understand viewpoints on key issues quickly. If you would like to add your contact details to form part of a group to give your views on a range of mental health and related issues contact Lewis on lmacleod@mentalhealth.org.uk
Hate Crime
Mental Health Hate crime is often under-estimated, people often talk about stigma but aren’t always aware that sometimes what they are experiencing is actually a crime. We are in the initial stages of exploring how our members experience hate crime and will update you over time with what we find. If you would like to get involved contact Paula on pfraser@mentalhealth.org.uk
Mental Health Stigma
Lived experience group shaping the work taking place on stigma for people with complex mental health problems in Scotland, more to follow.
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