CHARM - Communities for Holistic Accessible Rights-based Mental Health http://charm mental launches Story-bank project 

Yeah. Okay. Okay. Um, Matt, uh, we are both undertaking a community reporting course, and we're sitting in Central Methodist Hall

We've got an opportunity to reflect on something that's important lives. Right now, I just wondered if you could let me know. Why have you come on this course? And what do you think is important about community reporting? Okay, so we got involved in this course because we Well, I am

We're both wanting to bring the stories of people with lived experience of a serious mental illness, um, so that we might want to be able to capture those stories so we can use them to help influence how systems are designed across Manchester and Greater Manchester and potentially across the whole country. Because, you know, these system issues and a strong feeling that it's really important that the narratives of people who are actually experiencing using services and systems often get missed out when thinking about the service design. And often when people say that they're going to talk to people with lived experience, they take the bits which they want to hear and use that so that they can make it fit

The narrative of the people who are commissioning services and designing things. So the community reporting approach feels like a really a good way in because it's allowing people's voice to be directly heard. You're allowing people to speak for themselves and present their own understanding of situations

Um, and when it comes to multiple disadvantage or, um, this idea of understanding mental health thing is really important to see what people's understanding of our own journey is. Rather than taking things from a very service land medicalised model, they placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of neutrality. I'm not adopting a position, and I wonder if you shifted your thinking anyway or is it just reinforced what you believed? I think neutrality is an interesting concept

I don't think that the, uh, the idea that the product at the end, you know the story captured has to be neutral. I think that the objective of neutrality is the person asking the questions should potentially I mean, no, no one is 100% neutral that if you're getting involved in a project like this, you probably have a reason why why it matters to you. Um, so you're probably not coming from a neutral position

But I guess what's important is that when we're asking people about their stories asking people what they what they think, Um, it's going to be important to, um as an interviewer, I guess it's important to be neutral to allow the subject. The person speaking to present their own opinions. I think that the importance of neutrality in this, um, is exactly the issue, which, which was speaking against, which is that often services have their own agenda

And so I want people to give a positive message. We should be leading people to say Oh, everything is bad or everything is good. What we're trying to say is, What was your own personal experience? Good or bad? And how did it happen? So it's so it's being led by the individual who's speaking rather than the agenda

But yeah, in terms of neutrality, I think that it's important, so personal. What do you bring into this this project and why have you agreed to spend, you know, quite a continued period of your life in the next few months to get this story back together? What's in it for you? Um, what's in it for me. I just have a strong belief in justice and a strong belief in giving people that kind of space to to have their voices heard

Um, what's in it for me? Hopefully, very little. Hopefully I'll be able to stay behind the scenes. I do have my own stories to share

Uh, and I think that actually, if if it's one thing, it's the idea of the satisfaction of recognising that this is something which has been missed in the past and wanting to give people a platform for something that I feel has been neglected and trying to support a movement towards lived experience voice being empowered. Okay, so one of the tag lines for the particular project you're working on the moment is a focus on human rights. I think they believe that human rights often gets neglected as a misunderstood

How do you think you're going to ensure that we give oxygen to that issue? How do you ask that question about human rights Once again, I think that wont you give the I think rather than going in and asking me if you've got someone, how your human rights being effective. I think it's in the Congress, quite a. It is the leading people

I think that one of the key things that you need to be thinking about is once the stories being told, How do we look at what that narrative is so that there's an authentic agenda and it's kind of in the interpretation of the story. Once you've given someone a space to speak their truth, you can then reflect back on it and say, Well, hold on, this happened to you and this happened to you Was that right? Was that right? And so you're not? Yeah, I think that there's a space in how we interpreted interpreted information afterwards and how it's presented and how that's used to influence others. Uh, so, uh, imposing on people's rights

And, uh, you know, the big thing. The most important thing with rights is about freedom and therefore giving people a platform to speak and speak. Their truth is the first step towards addressing human rights issues

Thank you very much..

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