History and Current Structure:

Viewpoint was formed around 2003 by a partnership between the local Mind organisations, with the remit of coordinating and amplifying the views of mental health service users to influence service delivery. It was funded by the Joint Commissioning Team on behalf of HCC and the PCTs.

The basic structure involved organising local forums for service users to attend, and then to feed these views back to various statutory services, meetings or projects. There was also additional work which looked at particular issues and often engaged service users in a workshop based model. This structure has been largely unchanged (in terms of the involvement contract) over subsequent years, while the commissioning structure and statutory health and social care services are markedly different.

The fact that service users now run their own services, educate most groups of mental health workers, even provide a research team at the Institute of Psychiatry, the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), is an indication of the different type of landscape we are now inhabiting. In short, people with a mental illness diagnosis have gone from being an absence to a presence in the mental health arena. Use of the term ‘Experts by Experience’ in recent years illustrated the distance that has been travelled

Peter Campbell from Little Acorns – The mental health service user movement 2005

For the past 17 years we have sought to engage with service users to:

  • Understand the end user experience
  • To promote co production & ownership of services
  • To enable people to voice concerns and issue
    with the opportunity of recourse
  • To increase feedback for services to improve 
  • To develop a culture of involvement within the
    care setting from strategic to individual care
    provision