People who use mental health services in Calderdale have been given the opportunity to discuss how to recover from mental distress. Over 100 people, who include service users, carers and Trust staff, are expected at an event, ‘Beyond the Cuckoos Nest’.

The event, organised by the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, held on January 23rd at the Ebenezer Centre, Halifax, gives people the chance to look at ‘recovery’, and debate and discuss the topic.

The guest speaker at the event is Rufus May, a clinical psychologist who, at 18, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. ‘Rufus is a truly inspiring speaker’, commented Debbie Wilson, who organised the event, ‘He’s very open about his own experiences and encourages service users to be open about theirs too. As a recovered survivor Rufus holds a lot of credibility with service users, and this enables them to talk freely about their own experiences’.

Debbie, a community mental health nurse with the assertive outreach team, organised the event with colleague Adam Jhugroo, a staff nurse on the Ashdale Ward, The Dales, Calderdale Royal Hospital. The pair were inspired to organise the event by a small number of people who had come through inpatient services and felt that their prognosis was quite poor.

Adam said, ‘There seems to be a dawning of awareness within the NHS which supports the notion of a ‘recovery’ model, alongside more traditional medical models. Here in Calderdale we’re very proud of the way our services are modernising to fully support service users at every stage’.

Another focus during the day is the screening of a ground-breaking film which looks at links between spirituality and psychosis. The film, made by Mel Gulenhal, looks at experiences of psychosis and the mental health system and complimentary approaches to wellness.

Speaking about the event, Debbie Wilson commented, ‘It’s a really good chance for people who use mental health services, and their carers, to come together and talk about ways they can recover from mental distress. This may be through self-help, empowerment or even complimentary therapies’.

Adam Jhugroo concluded, ‘Recovery is a very important concept in metal health and all our work and commitment is founded upon the hope of recovery for all people who have experienced mental distress’.


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