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This LEAFLET or at least previous editions of it, were also available in hard copy! To receive yours in the old days you could have sent a stamped addressed e-mail to Rachel at our contact page (stating whether you'd like just the one, or a bulk consignment). This is no longer the case, but we still have a virtual leaflet here! Also note that previous physical leaflets could be collectible?!
NATIONAL PERCEPTIONS FORUM updated!
for those who have experienced schizophrenia and similar conditions
WHO ARE WE?
Formerly National Voices Forum, National Perceptions Forum (Perceptions) is a mental health (ex) service user and survivor (hereinafter "user") network, now independently run and financed. (A while ago it was financed by Rethink, but that was a while ago).
WE ARE RUN ENTIRELY BY (EX)MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE USERS/SURVIVORS
Perceptions exists to benefit those who have been classed as having severe mental illness. People who have been labelled in this way often suffer problems for many years if not for life and we believe that MUTUAL SUPPORT is one of the best ways to minimise them. Our aim is to GIVE VOICE to and EMPOWER those with who have at any time been in this situation.
As Perceptions members you can express yourself in settings away from the watchful eye of mental health services, and gain support from each other away from stigma and patronage.
WE DO NOT TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO THINK BUT OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR MEMBERS TO SAY WHAT THEY THINK
We are constitutionally empowered to direct our activities and formulate our own policies independently.
At the national level, Perceptions used to hold quarterly business meetings, including an AGM when a National Chair, Vice Chair, and a Treasurer were elected by those present. Here major decisions were made about the running of the organisation and it was open to all user members to attend space permitting. These days it's run on a more distributed and virtual basis online, as it's more tricky to fund expenses. We sometimes have International virtual meetings!
Perceptions publishes a magazine, which used to be a quarterly magazine, also called "Perceptions", made up almost entirely of contributions from the membership, that expressed people's varied views on many subjects to do with their involvement with psychiatry, from personal experiences to views on the system, and other related matters like films and books. This is done through articles, poems, cartoons and art. The magazine is now published when we can afford a print-run and distribution, which requires sufficient advertising space to be sold in advance. See our new funding model
Perceptions holds conferences on self-management and recovery themes for people in our situation. At conferences users get together and discuss the many ways they can regain control of their lives. This again is subject to funding.
Perceptions has an extensive website containing over 450 pages much of which is taken from past editions of our magazine. As well as this there are reports on our conferences, additional written work and graphics, a mad game, information about Perceptions and other people we promote and even some downloadable music.
Perceptions hosts a poetry competition named after a carer called Martha Robinson who bequeathed money to us which supports it. There are prizes for winning entries as well as commendations. These are published in "Perceptions" and also on the website, subject to the permission of the authors.
OFFICE BASE (gone)
Perceptions was previously supported nationally by a part-time paid worker who has also been a service user. This person was based at the office of the headquarters of Rethink. However, since Rethink pulled out of funding us, we no longer have such help. You can still write to us, though.
Perceptions has several local groups around the UK. These offer information, advice, social contact and friendship. We are still around and still have networks of connections.
AREA LIAISON OFFICERS
At the time of this update (2012/05) Perceptions has helpful people who work from home and provide support and information, but as Rethink are no longer paying us, this is tricky and we ask you to be fair to us.
Some Perceptions members have taken part in TV and radio programmes and written pieces for the national press.
We want to promote a more positive image of people labelled as having severe mental illness to counter inaccurate, misleading and sensationalist press reports.
Perceptions is represented, subject to funding, on, amongst others, the Patients & Carers Liaison Group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was on the National Institute for Clinical Excellence former Guideline Development Group on Schizophrenia, had a member as part of a working group with the Nuffield Council on Bioethics as well as participating in other major research studies.
Perceptions has contributed to many consultations on the plans for the Mental Health Act 2007, which is now law, by sending written submissions to the government and is a member of the Mental Health Alliance. Views from us are regularly sought by mental health organisations.
MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN MORE WIDELY
MAKE NEW SOCIAL CONTACTS
FIND AN OUTLET FOR YOUR CREATIVE WORK
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVOLVEMENT IN THE POLITICS OF PSYCHIATRY
OR JUST READ OUR MAGAZINE
MEMBERSHIP IS FREE TO (EX)SERVICE USERS,
SURVIVORS AND CARERS
IT'S EASY TO JOIN
As a Full or Affiliate Member you will receive a quarterly magazine , "Perceptions" (when we can afford to print it) and as a Full Member also notice and minutes of national meetings (again subject to funding). We can help you develop a local group in your area. Membership also includes being part of our interesting organisation and being in touch with us. Our online presence is going to continue, and we also keep in touch with each other on the phone. There is an e-Newsletter which is sent out every now-and-then.
Please note that we have declared independence from Rethink and are no longer in their charitable remit. However, we are still a Good Cause and still have online support of Zyra
National Perceptions Forum is a Service User/Survivor run Organisation.
You can also join us using the online FORM
If you'd like to find out more about things we do online, have a look around the Works of Art and personal experiences told how they are, by the people.
(This page is a reasonable representation of the new Perceptions leaflet, in contrast to the page which has been carefully cobbled together from the previous version by adjusting "VOICES" to read "PERCEPTIONS" and in other ways cunningly tweaked to make it in-keeping with the updated nomenclature!)