1 Oct 08
Message from the National Executive Officer


As recent events have shown, a strong and united voice is essential if ordinary people are to successfully challenge decisions that are taken without their active involvement or any meaningful consultation. The senior members of our society have demonstrated that a united voice is an awfully powerful weapon for change.

This is the basis for my message to all of you who care about the difficult circumstances in which mental health services are trying to survive. Only a strong and united voice that respects each individual who comes into contact with the services can successfully establish the right of all to be consulted and involved in decisions that will affect the way in which their needs are met in an era of economic uncertainty. At this very moment, decisions are being taken that will affect all of us who have an interest in this area. Despite a national policy which places the needs of service users at the centre of all decision-making, the reality is that representation at the highest level does not currently exist.

The establishment of the National Service Users Executive means that a real opportunity is available  for all of you that have personal experience in this regard to have your voice heard, your views respected and your chosen representatives properly acknowledged and involved in all decisions that affect us all.
I cannot properly manage any of the difficult tasks ahead unless all of you who read this message let me know how each of you feel.  Like everyone else, I am good at some things and not great at others, but what is certain is that I, and other members of the Executive can only put forward your views if you are willing to share them. Please join us in this attempt to have a fully representative organisation that values each individual member. An opportunity exists to effect meaningful change for the better, but opportunity sometimes only knocks once.

Elsewhere on this website, you will find messages of hope, ideas for discussion and prospects for future change. None of this will happen unless real people with real ideas get involved. I am 54 years old and not yet dead, and I want to make a real difference to the society which has sometimes treated me as a second class citizen because I have needed the support of the mental health services. I know many of you feel the same way. Without a united voice and a strong membership we will struggle to have any real effect.  None of us can change the past, but we can certainly try to make a better future for us all.

Is mise le meas,
John Redican
National Executive Officer



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