Service user recognised for personal progress

Posted: 20/07/21

A mental health service user is celebrating after being recognised for his personal progress at an awards event.

Steven has won runner up in the One Awards Celebration of Learning, which recognises how far he has come on his recovery journey.

Previously an inpatient at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), Steven has spent a number of years undergoing treatment.

As an inpatient he attended education sessions and has continued with those in community services.

He was nominated for the award thanks to his work with the Recovery College and CNTW’s Education Team. He has since come back into the mental health environment as a volunteer sharing his experience to support service users to compete a volunteering course.

The Recovery College offers education and support for people to meet and build skills. They are peer-led and run a variety of courses from fishing to film making, to allow people to gain knowledge and learn from others.

Steven said: “To get this award was a total surprise. To me, it seemed almost strange to get an award for personal progress. While my journey through life has been different from that of others, I didn’t consider it more adverse or difficult than the challenges faced by some, and far less difficult than some.

“I hope this will show people that having some form of mental health difficulty doesn’t have to hold you back. You can move on and have a better life than you would have thought possible.”

Steven was nominated by CNTW specialist teacher and education lead Helen Sonnenfeld. She said: “Steven has supported the Level 1 Volunteer Award group and helped eight patients complete their portfolios using both his experience as a former inpatient and as a volunteer to give ‘real life’ examples of what it’s like and the skills they need.

“Although Steven’s volunteering was cut short because of the pandemic, his achievement and support should not be underestimated. He has inspired others and demonstrated hope to those going through their own recovery. Through sharing his own experience, he was shown the transformational power of learning and is willing to pass this onto others.”

The One Awards Celebration of Learning recognises best practice, originality and achievement within learning. It focuses on learners and the people and organisations that have enabled innovative and often life-changing learning to take place. One Awards aims to provide a flexible range of accreditation to support learners to achieve their goals in life and work.

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.