Di Hickman, Brighton and Hove Service User Governor


I stand as governor to bring into view the mental health service perspective of someone benefitting from the services and intervention, and its positive outcomes. Though I have received intermittent support throughout my life since childhood, my situation did not truly acquire that necessary gaze of the service professionals until relatively recently, when I was assigned to a team of psychologists within secondary care. It occurred to me that this had happened at a time when the service felt to have taken a turn towards its most effective service-user approach, making a lifetime of falling through the net, a fortunate conclusion. So, I stand to reflect the various aspects of care considered from the perspective of someone who might fail to be reached, as well as thrive within the system. 

I am also currently awaiting assessment for autism; one of no-doubt thousands of women who showed none of the characteristic criteria of past tests but went on to build a life and career with this understanding beyond their reach. I come from a Youth Work background, having spent most of my career self-employed, as an instructor in mountaineering, before becoming commercial yachting instructor. These roles, as a female in a predominantly male industry, have demanded a strong sense of self-belief and leadership skills and a methodical insight to delivering effective support in the harshest of outdoor learning environments.

So, I am similarly keen to notice how the service reaches and supports people who might perhaps have no voice, or are somehow off the radar, as this is a listening I have honed over the last few decades, in the most arduous of environments. I am currently grateful to be in receipt of the services of Sussex Partnership’s services as a service user, working with a psychologist and her team, as an ordinary member of public.