‘[freedom] is the capacity to participate effectively in shaping the social limits that define what is possible’ – Hayward (1998, p21).

The evidence described here is drawn from the direct experience of people using mental health services. They have clearly identified a wide range of issues and themes for action. Service providers and policy-makers must take views such as these on board, as they could form a solid basis for practice and service development.  If providers cannot fill the space for change with the direct experiential insights of service users, what is that saying about the exercise of power? One participant in the consultation said:  'Nothing will change’. Will providers prove her wrong?  

Contact information

Mark Bertram or Peter Linnett,
Carpet Cleaning Care,
Tel: 020 3228 6805 or 07891 544 150


Thanks to all the people who participated in the event and Yan Weaver (Lambeth MIND), Ray Brett (South London User Research Project, S.L.U.R.P.), Carole Myers (Lambeth User Voice, L.U.V.) for insightful advice and help.  


Faulkner, A. and Layzell, S. (2000) Strategies for Living: A Report of User-Led Research into Peoples Strategies for Living with Mental Distress. London: Mental Health Foundation. 

Hayward, C.R. (1998) De-facing power, Polity, 31, 1, 1-22.  

Parkes, T. and Downer, B. (2001) Can you help me through the looking glass? Bedlam Consultancy and Consumer Consultancy. 

First published in Life in the day Volume 7 Issue 4