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Depression - Chris Lynch case study

Chris_Lynch_2.jpgChris is a service user governor for Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Mental Health Trust, and Chair of Chester PLUS, a local mental health charity run by service users. He has helped set up several Rethink Mental Illness support groups in Chester, recently started volunteering with Cheshire Police and is also a trustee of the British Psychological Society.

During 2015 Chris was involved with the development and implementation of the Integrated Depression Care Pathway and talked about his personal experiences at a People’s Voice event.

“I was asked to attend the recent Integrated Depression Care Pathway event to be the ‘human face of depression’ and found it really interesting for a number of reasons.

“Over the last couple of years I have engaged with charities, trusts and organisations and talked at a number of conferences and events. This one felt different. It was the first time I had been asked to give such a full and frank account of my experiences. I often talk about the good and the bad interactions I’ve had with services over the years. I have praised the good, but this time I was encouraged to share the negatives in a way I haven’t been before.

“It felt like people wanted to know what can happen when things don’t go to plan, when people fall between the cracks. There was no one going on an instant defensive - people wanted to know so they could address things and learn. This felt like a refreshing change.

“Since then, and because of this, I have signed up to be a member of the People’s Voice, am preparing for my next event and hoping to become more involved in the future. I have started to speak out and give a human element to certain conditions, so people are seen as more than numbers or cases. I think service improvement is critical for the future of mental health care, whether it’s for others that use services in the future or if I use them again myself.                       

“Coming along to the event made me feel valued - everyone was so nice, friendly and receptive and it felt like they genuinely wanted to improve things. I’ve been to my fair share of these events and I feel sometimes they can be a waste of my time, with service users brought on board so people can talk about co-production but then nothing ever comes of it. This wasn’t one of those events; it was a very worthwhile day. I hope to have more like this and would wholeheartedly encourage others to get involved as well.”

Coming along to the event made me feel valued - everyone was so nice, friendly and receptive and it felt like they genuinely wanted to improve things.

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