South Australian network for, by, and about people who hear voices and have other 'psychotic' experiences

Hello all!

by Sarah K Reece

On Nov 24th a collection of local SA organisations with an interest in voice hearing invited Ron Coleman to come and speak. He spent a day on a workshop about understanding voices, the history of the international movement, and how to get a local network off the ground. With his encouragement, a number of interested people met to discuss our fledgling network and how to develop it further. If you were one of them, or are interested in being involved, I’d love to hear from you. You can be representing an organisation or yourself, be a voice hearer, family member, clinician, or simply someone passionate about mental health. Send me an email sarah@di.org.au

I will be arranging a time for us to meet face to face and start talking about projects and resources. I have also created a Facebook group specifically for growing this network and planning new resources (not self help) especially to include those who are less mobile or live too far away for face to face gatherings. If you’re not on facebook you’re certainly welcome to email.

At this stage here is a quick outline of what has been happening!

Many SA organisations and people are keen for there to be a state wide network. A number of other states have hearing voices networks (HVN) (see Useful Links) and their purpose is generally roughly threefold – to have an online and/or social media presence; to create, support, and help people find local hearing voices groups; and to promote the hearing voices approach through printed resources, training, and liaisons with other organisations and services. Some networks are started by an organisation, some by individuals. Some incorporate to manage their own funds, many are literally a network – that is a group of passionate friends from different walks of life, and funding is managed through auspicing via a local organisation or supported by a business.

Getting a new website or online presence off the ground can present multiple challenges for organisations, so although the idea has been discussed for a few years there were significant barriers. I decided to launch our website as a voice hearer and support it through my personal business. I’m thrilled to invite contributions and collaborations! I can hold the space while we find our feet and look to the future of the network. I’ve already spent a few years working on the Dissociative Initiative, which is a similar peer based resource, using the principles of the hearing voices movement but applying them to experiences of dissociation and multiplicity. I’ve been using what has worked in the DI as a model on which to develop the HVNSA, such as the Welcome Packs which is a free collection of printed resources people can download and print, or have mailed to them. Presently we have a very sparse welcome pack, links to the three face to face groups that are currently running in SA, links to the large Intervoice online group and other online resources, and a small library of books and DVD’s for people to borrow. Personally I would like to see the welcome packs outfitted with more resources with printing and post supported through some kind of funding, the lending library expanded and a simple method of borrowing and returning (possibly postal) developed and funded, and marketing materials for the network developed for use in local services, hospitals and so on. I’m sure other people also have suggestions about where the need is greatest and what resources will be easiest to develop quickly and cheaply.

So, talk to me. If we could create one resource for you here in SA, what would it be? Training packages about hearing voices for staff and doctors? More groups in rural areas? What’s the greatest need? What are you already doing that we could promote through this network? A new member is going to put in a grant application for a small funding package to help us develop our resources, so lets talk about what’s needed! We need to have a wishlist sorted by Monday 8th Dec.

I have also linked the Hearing Voices Declaration to our website here, with permission from Prahran Mission. This is a fantastic opportunity to get local services on board but sharing a simple overview of the aims of the movement and an invitation for people to sign the declaration. Please share it with your employer or local mental health service!

Get involved, it’s going to be amazing. 🙂

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Comments on: "Join in developing our new Hearing Voices Network" (2)

  1. Jenny Benham said:

    hi I am jenny Im new to writing in this format but my passion and commitment
    to the mental health challenges burns like a hot chilly in my soul. I have a long involved history with the mental health services. I was a Nurse and on completion of training I moved to Melbourne and began working as a RN in a psychiatric ward where the patients aged from 4 to 16 years. However my journey began long before that; when I was about 4 I began to experience things that didn’t quite fit in the accepted realm of reality. In hind sight I would say this was when my experience of normality stepped outside the square. I was hearing voices. Although the experiences change the basis of the experience remained. Though often alone I was never alone and this still remains so.

    i escaped the mental heath services until I was 22 when a series of events saw me in the emergency department awaking from a head injury talking to my demons. Hence the slide into mental health services was indeed slippery and with in 3 days I was told to place my work on the rear burner or more precisely they snuffed out my flame, placed on high levels of some of our more primitive antipsychotic and hospitalised without consultation.

    I isolated and was lost in a life without truily living. I had brief moments where my world and the share world actually met. I remained in this fog for many years having therapy after therapy that key focus was to get me to come into the shared reality as defined by the DSM
    The key was to deny, block, distract and ignore all my experiences but that virtually involved
    denying my life.

    I was involved in the Schizophrenic Fellowship for many year. This offered support according to the accepted concepts of the time. I was lost in the fog moving in and out without real rhym or reason.

    Sometime around 2009 it was suggested that I attend the Voice Hearers group at the Mental Illness Fellowship of SA. I was confused. My mind went into turmoil. The group facilitators opened the group inviting member to talk about their voices. “Talking about voices” they were trying trick me , to trap me. Talking, talking about our voices. However something kept me going to the group. Late 2009 I took on the role of co- facilitator and later we renamed our group Sound Minds.

    I’ve walked many years with the darkness of the fog heavy on my shoulder. Now I can entice myself to step beyond this and live.

    Like

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