Having a ‘voice’ can bolster mental health. It can also create feelings of worth, belonging and self-respect. That’s what Health Creation Alliance members head about their I Have A Voice programme, from partner Tina Devereux.
Voices For Change
“People need to have the right opportunities to be encouraged to use their voice to speak up without feeling ridiculed, inadequate, embarrassed or uncomfortable,” Tina told the Health Creation Alliance member meeting in March.
Everybody has something to give
“Everybody has something to give or say to contribute to their well being,” said Tina, who is a supporter and follower of C2, and a resident member of a community-led action group based in Westbury Wiltshire.
The aim of I Have A Voice is to ‘connect the voice of lived experience to people setting the policies and designing systems and services’.
To do this the Health Creation Alliance has drawn together partners, including Witton Lodge Community Association, the Justice Network, Birmingham Mind Experts Group, Turning Point and Lisa Holder, founding member of the North Yorkshire Health Creation Network, as well as us at C2 and Tina to help drive I Have A Voice.
But the scope of I Have A Voice goes beyond having voices heard. They should be “heard in the right way,” said Tina. “Not misrepresented or misquoted, but for people to share their stories and their lived experiences in their own words.
“When people know they have a voice, many things can be achieved: feelings of worth, belonging, ownership, self-respect and general mental well-being, connecting to others and forming friendships
“Coming from a community group, the most important part of having a voice is for it to be heard,” said Tina. “The ability to listen is a must in any situation where communication is the key.
“Listen, learn and act, and together our lives and communities can start to regrow and blossom into thriving villages, town and cities, which in return will benefit everyone’s health by creating better health situations, better lifestyles and healthier environments.
“The answers are always within the community.”