Ben’s mental health experience helps improve services for others
Ben Robinson, from Manchester, has personal experience of accessing inpatient and community mental health services, after being previously detained under the Mental Health Act. Ben was detained whilst suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, and subsequently developed suicidal thoughts and mental health issues.
As part of the programme, the Experts by Experience (ExEs) speak to people using services, their families and organisations that support them, as well as observing how services are delivered and speaking to staff. Their findings are used to support the CQC inspectors’ judgements on services and may be included in inspection reports.
Ben says: “I wanted to become an ExE to use my personal experience of accessing mental health services to help people who use those services receive an improved level of care, whilst also ensuring professionals receive feedback about their approach, to make it more person centred instead of treating every patient or service user the same.
“I think it’s important to get service users views and opinions. I was an inpatient for 12 months and during this time I experienced things that impacted my rehabilitation as well as things that aided my care. I feel that I can use these positive and negative experiences to help improve services.”
To become an ExE, people will have used a service themselves within the last five years, or cared for a family member who has, so they know better than anyone what to look for and the type of questions to ask.
Ben continued: “After completing a couple of inspections I have come away thinking that I made a difference to the services I’ve seen. Being an ExE has given me confidence in my own ability and improved my communication skills, and I’ve also learnt a new skill in writing reports. Remploy has been a massive support during my training and since becoming an ExE, they are always willing to help out with any queries or issues.”
Ben has been an ExE for over twelve months now and is looking forward to supporting more inspections in the future.
“I want to continue taking part in as many inspections covering mental health services and services involving people detained under the Mental Health Act as possible, raising mental health awareness and improving services for those who are being treated for the same thing I went through,” Ben concluded.