The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) is a membership-led organisation that represents a diverse community of past, current and future users of mental health services, as well as those with lived experience of mental health.
By working together, we believe that we can be a force for positive change in the way that mental health is treated, perceived, and recognised.
Our branches lead on work to improve local mental health services, campaign for reforms and changes to the negative ways that mental health problems can be viewed, and act as a local voice for those with a diverse range of lived experiences.
In partnership with Off the Record’s LGBTQ+ Voice and Influence project we are developing a dedicated LGBTQ+ Steering Group for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) areas to help create a safe and effective space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to come together. Members of the group will be able to voice their lived experience of trying to access mental health support and the quality of any support received.
This will be a working group in which members can discuss issues, challenges and opportunities particular to the mental wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people. But we don’t just want to talk about these things; we want to help change and develop them. As a team, we’ll be creating and working on projects with the aim to drive positive change for our community within the services.
Membership of the group is open to LGBTQ+ individuals across BNSSG and we are keen to ensure that membership grows to fully reflect the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.
Members of the IMHN team will facilitate Zoom meetings. There will be space for open discussion and identification of key priorities in which the group would like to campaign for change or increased awareness of LGBTQ+ needs.
Group engagement, highlighted issues and resulting project work will be regularly fed back thematically and anonymously into the wider IMHN membership in order to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ needs and experiences. We believe that this will be particularly helpful for the awareness of organisational representatives that attend external meetings, and will ensure that voices of the LGBTQ+ community can be heard and responded to by commissioners and service providers in order to bring about meaningful change.
Please note that meetings will be taking place virtually for the time being. Should meetings be scheduled in-person, out-of-pocket travel expenses associated with attending will be reimbursed. This includes costs like bus tickets or car parking. Should your require taxi this will need to be agreed in advance.
This group welcomes all people. As an LGBTQ+ collective, we want to engage people across the spectrums of gender identity and sexuality, race and ethnicity. A person’s faith or beliefs, their relationship status, their employment and housing situations, and their mental and physical health needs are accepted without prejudice or judgement.
We exist to celebrate our rich diversity within our community and to work together. As people of diverse backgrounds, we can help create change that will bring a significant benefit to the community, and to the wider world.
The pandemic has uncovered the inequalities that have been beneath the surface of our society for decades. We believe that the best way forward is to join together and create a safe space for ourselves. We are not a minority and we do not have to be marginalised.
Our differences make us strong. They give us the chance to learn, explore and grow. It’s in our differences that we will find our commonalities and, through sharing our knowledge and experience freely and without fear, we can bring about real change. We can beat oppression and discrimination together.
August 25, 2020 at 10:38 am