May 19th 2017

On Monday 8th May, we had the privilege of representing Advent Advocacy at this year’s National Service User Awards! This is an event that was started in 2012 by service users within a private healthcare provider – it aims to celebrate the large number of service users projects in inpatient services nationwide. The National Service User Awards are designed to take notice of all the good that service users have done and the huge achievements, often made against the odds during challenging times in peoples’ lives, whilst receiving treatment and in very restrictive settings that we know all too well.

It was an heart-warming day and the achievements, particularly those relating to arts and music truly blew the audience away, again and again. What’s more,the whole event was service user led, with support by Experts By Experience and private healthcare providers. Click on this link if you have a moment and would like to see a run-down of the nominees, winners and photos of the day:

More than 120 delegates gathered at the Village Hotel in Leeds for the event which addressed the problem of mental health stigma and what strategies can be used to help those affected by stigma. Advent Advocacy’s presentation was focused on the role that mental health advocacy can play in addressing stigma, highlighting subtle and overt examples of discriminatory/stigmatising behaviour and strategies for addressing and combating the trend. Speaking of trends, #speakoutspeakabout (a phrase coined by our  very own Lindsey Martin) became quite popular after a notable blogger in the audience Aimee Wilson ( – over 200,000 followers!) Tweeted about our session. All in all it was a really informative day, and although the topic was somewhat difficult to deal with, it was very promising to see a wide variety of service users speak in an empowered way about the issue and to have the opportunity to share inspiring stories and life lessons. Here is a snap from our presentation: