BIMHN’s committee are responsible for the running of the Bristol branch of the Independent Mental Health Network, and are elected from the membership at the branch’s AGM.
Co-Chairs: Erica Wildgoose and Dave
Hello, we are Erica and Dave – your elected Co-Chairs. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for electing us to the position – We feel very humbled and excited to make a difference. Over this next year, we will be chairing the monthly business meetings of BIMHN, as well as supporting some of the work the group is involved in. This will include ensuring a strong lived experience voice is heard as part of the recommissioning process for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Our role is also to help provide strategic direction for the organisation, encouraging more people to participate and show how much of a difference mental health lived experience leadership can make to people’s lives.
We feel strongly about BIMHN’s aims and values, and believe that those suffering with mental ill health deserve the best possible access to local services, to be heard and to feel empowered to use their voice and share their story. I look forward to representing you all, and ensuring your voice is heard over the next year.
Get in touch! Email us at bimhn[at]imhn.org.
Representation & Accountability Officer: Tom Renhard
Hey I’m Tom, your elected Representation & Accountability Officer for BIMHN. It is my role to help support all members of the committee with their work and to co-ordinate our activities across the city of Bristol.
In terms of my background, I have been involved in mental health campaigning for over five years, holding a number of related roles over this period. This started during my time at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), lobbying for improved mental health services at the university and increased support for staff so that they can feel better equipped to support students facing often unique and complex issues. This included developing policy on taking this issue forward at UWE.
During this time I was also one of the founding members of the Mental Health Campaign, which has now been going for five years strong, raising awareness and challenging mental health stigma and discrimination across the university campuses. I am incredibly proud of all the very inspiring people I have met through the campaign, and look forward to seeing how the campaign develops in the coming years.
I am also a Time to Change Champion and passionately believe that we can help reduce mental health stigma and discrimination through positive conversations and education in the community.
I have helped co-ordinate the development of national policy for National Union of Students on Mental Health and went on to represent the Students’ Union at UWE as Vice-President Community and Welfare for one year between July 2013 and June 2014.
I want to thank the membership for re-electing me as the Representation & Accountability Officer of BIMHN, and I hope to continue to utilise my experiences to develop the organisation and create a positive and strong voice for people with mental health issues across the city.
Want to get in touch? Drop me an email at bimhn[at]imhn.org.
Membership Engagement Officer: Dawn
Hello, I’m Dawn – your elected Membership Engagement Officer. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for electing me for the position – I feel hugely grateful and privileged. Over this next year, I will be leading on the continued development of a community engagement strategy; ensuring our membership is diverse and inclusive; and developing innovative methods to raise awareness of BIMHN.
I have been involved with mental health services in Bristol for many years now as a service user in the past and now as someone that is eager to contribute in enhancing the services for the people of Bristol. I have previously been involved in the ‘Time to Change’ campaign in conjunction with Rethink Mental Illness and Mind to end the stigma attached to mental health. I’ve also have worked alongside Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (Bristol CCG) with the commissioning of the new service now known as Bristol Mental Health. I was also involved in the discussions regarding the set up of the ‘Sanctuary’ in Bristol. As well as informing people about Bristol Survivors’ Network (BSN) and of course BIMHN.
I would like to thank you again for electing me as Membership Engagement Officer. I feel incredibly passionate about BIMHN’s aims and values, and believe that those suffering with mental ill health deserve the best possible access to local services. I look forward to representing you all, and ensuring your voice is heard over the next year.
Get in touch! Email me bimhn[at]imhn.org.
Events Officer: Shaun
Hiya, I’m the Events Officer, and I offer my thanks to all those who took part in the election process. While this is a new role within BIMHN, it is not a new function: previously event orgainisation was undertaken as part of other elected officer’s duties. It’s creation, therefore is a consequence of the group’s success in expanding its mental health work across Bristol.
I graduated as a Building Surveyor, many, many years ago and served as the membership secretary for the Bristol and Bath branch of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), which had a membership of around 90. In the sphere of well-being, I have done both voluntary and paid work for charities that work with people who need some support to live with (or through) their physical and/or mental health. I’m also the Service User rep for The Sanctuary, St. Mungos, Bristol.
Personal experience – For around two decades I have lived with, to varying degrees of severity, depression and anxiety. The first of these I have discussed on Radio Bristol and in B24/7. An important lesson I’ve learned is the value (and values of) those who’ve traversed (and perhaps temporarily fallen off!) a similar path.
Perhaps understandably, as Events Officer, I would like to encourage a greater understanding of BIMHN’s role and of mental health as an aspect of what it is to be human. A fine example of how this can work through into lived experience, and contemporary challenges, is the conference, Mental Health Conversations: Housing and mental health, a joint collaboration by CASS and BIMHN, which brought together service users, housing providers and mental health practitioners.
Advice, compliments and ideas: I am new to this role, and so would especially appreciate hearing your ideas around events, topics of interest, or suggestions on how to make events more effective and relevant.
Finally, I look forward to meeting you all in the not too distant future and get in touch with your ideas for collaboration by emailing bimhn[at]imhn.org.