Making Waves was founded in January 2003. It is a social firm that works in the areas described below. All its members have their own experience of mental distress. Currently we have a pool of 16 members involved in carrying out this work. We work with primary care and secondary care with local universities and the voluntary sector.
Making Waves came into being to try and challenge the current understandings about people who have experienced mental distress. We have chosen to focus on 5 areas of work:
- Service evaluation - the need to get a picture of what is going on for people and how they experience that is a bit more reliable than the endless satisfaction surveys.
- Research - to develop the skills to carry out research on issues that most concern us (these are seldom the same as those of academic and professionals).
- Training - we need to give people the skills to do the above. We also want to affect the education and understanding of those who may work with us.
- Involvement - Can we democratise health and social services so that the kind of services that are on offer reflect what is most effective for us, rather than the systems and workers that maintain them.
- Challenging prejudice and discrimination prejudice faced by people who have received a psychiatric diagnosis experience - this underpins all our other activities. We have been closely involved with the Open Up project (managed by Mental Health Media) which focuses on working with people with experience of mental distress to develop ways to tackle these issues.