No one was labelled or placed into categories; they spoke for themselves and defined their own problems and needs. Their voices and their feelings were the crux. Listening and talking over problems can save lives. That lesson about the critical importance of hearing people?s voices with respect has stayed with me through all the negative happenings and positive changes I have observed in hospitals and community projects over the years. A key advance was rise of the service user movement, which found expression in Oxford Survivors during the 1990s. Survivors enhanced the attention paid to the lived experience of people with varying mental health needs. When I joined the Oxford Social Services Mental Health Training Department in 1992, I won permission to introduce service user and carer led training and a session on Black people?s experiences. Member of Survivors agreed to train mental health professionals. Invited to join the Oxford Survivors Committee, I imbibed the best guidance I have ever had. Hilary Caldicott, then Director of Oxford Mind, was an indispensable member of the Committee, which took on the challenging task of successfully running an independent user-led day centre for many years. Carers were often ignored or bypassed by professionals on the negative grounds of upholding patient confidentiality, despite their considerable knowledge of the person concerned.

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