by Sarah K Reece
On Nov 24th a collection of local SA organisations with an interest in voice hearing invited Ron Coleman to come and speak. He spent a day on a workshop about understanding voices, the history of the international movement, and how to get a local network off the ground. With his encouragement, a number of interested people met to discuss our fledgling network and how to develop it further. If you were one of them, or are interested in being involved, I’d love to hear from you. You can be representing an organisation or yourself, be a voice hearer, family member, clinician, or simply someone passionate about mental health. Send me an email email@example.com
I will be arranging a time for us to meet face to face and start talking about projects and resources. I have also created a Facebook group specifically for growing this network and planning new resources (not self help) especially to include those who are less mobile or live too far away for face to face gatherings. If you’re not on facebook you’re certainly welcome to email.
At this stage here is a quick outline of what has been happening!
Many SA organisations and people are keen for there to be a state wide network. A number of other states have hearing voices networks (HVN) (see Useful Links) and their purpose is generally roughly threefold – to have an online and/or social media presence; to create, support, and help people find local hearing voices groups; and to promote the hearing voices approach through printed resources, training, and liaisons with other organisations and services. Some networks are started by an organisation, some by individuals. Some incorporate to manage their own funds, many are literally a network – that is a group of passionate friends from different walks of life, and funding is managed through auspicing via a local organisation or supported by a business.
Getting a new website or online presence off the ground can present multiple challenges for organisations, so although the idea has been discussed for a few years there were significant barriers. I decided to launch our website as a voice hearer and support it through my personal business. I’m thrilled to invite contributions and collaborations! I can hold the space while we find our feet and look to the future of the network. I’ve already spent a few years working on the Dissociative Initiative, which is a similar peer based resource, using the principles of the hearing voices movement but applying them to experiences of dissociation and multiplicity. I’ve been using what has worked in the DI as a model on which to develop the HVNSA, such as the Welcome Packs which is a free collection of printed resources people can download and print, or have mailed to them. Presently we have a very sparse welcome pack, links to the three face to face groups that are currently running in SA, links to the large Intervoice online group and other online resources, and a small library of books and DVD’s for people to borrow. Personally I would like to see the welcome packs outfitted with more resources with printing and post supported through some kind of funding, the lending library expanded and a simple method of borrowing and returning (possibly postal) developed and funded, and marketing materials for the network developed for use in local services, hospitals and so on. I’m sure other people also have suggestions about where the need is greatest and what resources will be easiest to develop quickly and cheaply.
So, talk to me. If we could create one resource for you here in SA, what would it be? Training packages about hearing voices for staff and doctors? More groups in rural areas? What’s the greatest need? What are you already doing that we could promote through this network? A new member is going to put in a grant application for a small funding package to help us develop our resources, so lets talk about what’s needed! We need to have a wishlist sorted by Monday 8th Dec.
I have also linked the Hearing Voices Declaration to our website here, with permission from Prahran Mission. This is a fantastic opportunity to get local services on board but sharing a simple overview of the aims of the movement and an invitation for people to sign the declaration. Please share it with your employer or local mental health service!
Get involved, it’s going to be amazing. 🙂