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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Viewpoint - Your stories

Frequently Asked Questions - How to get help: includes information on:

Book Reviews: In this section we encourage our readers to review books they have read which have a mental health theme.


Devoted to the views of people who have experienced mental health problems.

We welcome contributions from readers for this section of the website. Please email your articles to Kathryn Stillman.


  • An Insight to experiencing mental health illness: from pessimism to optimism by Jayne Collins

Once you have lost your mind and have been totally out of control, when the insane part of yourself takes over, you wonder if you will overcome it no matter how hard you try.  All you want is to be normal and fit into society. 


Diane Goslar

Diane Goslar, service user, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has produces a leaflet for patients, carers and anyone else who would like to find out more about:

  • what recovery is (in my case also alcohol dependence)
  • what it means
  • how to stay strong to overcome your dependence.






"I have been a carer of my son for over 40 years. During that time I have learnt a lot about mental illness, in the way it has been treated in this country and the people who are treating it."

April 2014


  • Podcast: The standpoint of a carer

Raj Persaud talks to Nick whose son developed some psychiatric difficulties. Nick explains the predicament from the standpoint of a carer, and describes an all-too-familiar battle that carers have getting NHS psychiatry services to take the concerns of carers and relatives seriously. As a result of being ignored when they tried to inform services, his son became seriously unwell and a series of tragic events unfolded. Nick talks frankly and openly about his experiences and speaks for many carers and relatives in his account of what they have to endure.

March 2014


Walking : Robert Dangoor

The more you walk, the less you need to see your doctor


Ramblers and Macmillan's Cancer Support have just launched the 'Walking For Health Campaign'.

I find regular physical activity, like walking, improves my mood, helps relieve depression and increases feelings of well-being.

I walk almost two hours every day, through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, to Park Lane and back.

I find nature and animals help me to face and understand the unpredictability of people.

There is an old saying, ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” but what you eat is good as far as it goes. Walking encompasses your whole being.

Walking and mental health

Diane Goslar from the Patients and Carers Liaison Group of the Addictions Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists writes about what Recovery means to her.


"What does “Recovery” mean to you?  Do you have a fixed description of it in your mind?  Perhaps for you it’s the process after injury, the healing phase which, having successfully come to an end, enables life to continue as before – you’ve recovered.  Well, let me tell you how I, as a recovering alcoholic, see Recovery."


Natalie first wrote to the College in June 2012 to tell us of her experience of living with schizophrenia, hearing voices, and about her recovery and her life. Natalie has now updated her account and to tells us what she is now doing with her life, keeping herself active and in her words: "I am a confident, and a positive and happy mental health character and should still like to break down any stigma attached for those suffering with mental health issues."

  • Janey Antoniou Award

Janey was a dear friend of Rethink Mental Illness (and of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) who died tragically in hospital in 2010. In her life she worked tirelessly to improve the care of people living with mental health problems and to fight stigma. A new award has been created for a trulyJaney Antoniou exceptional person living with mental illness who has, like Janey, dedicated their time to:

  • raising awareness of the realities of living with Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses
  • combating stigma associated with mental illness including schizophrenia
  • campaigning for the better care for people affected by mental illness, including schizophrenia, both in and outside of healthcare.

People working professionally in mental health will only be considered if they have made an exceptional contribution to these areas, in addition to their professional role.

June 2013


  • My story: being a young carer

    "I have decided to share my experience of growing up with a mother of mental illness who was only diagnosed when I was 20. This meant that we did not have any access to any support groups or care by any outside agency, i.e. social workers or doctors and only had ourselves to fall back on with long lasting damaging effects on our lives. I am now at a stage where I would like to share my story in the hope that others may benefit from this."

Depression and HappinessDepression and Happiness by Robert D Dangoor


“I thought of this saying when I realised that when I was depressed,

I stopped myself from doing things – I put obstacles in my way. 

When you’re melancholy it’s like when you’re in your garage and the engine won’t start.

When you’re content, you’re revving the engine, raring to go.”


March 2013


An article by Clare Campbell, Member of the RCPsych Carers' Forum and Dr Michael Yousif, member RCPsych Public Education Editorial Board.

An extract from Stan Popovich's book "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties.

"I have many friends who are well-educated and very talented and are amazing to be around but who occasionally shut themselves away. They feel utterly worthless and shy away from everyone. I wrote the song 'Manic Depressive' so that they would not feel alone and to know that I do understand what they are going through."

"The initial stimulus for this poem was a TV program that I saw about depression and the brain. Two guest  speakers Elyn Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison, spoke frankly and honestly about experiences with bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. When they indicated that depression is the kind of pain that is not easily put into words, I decided to research the topic. It became more than a poem and I used the letter - d -  profusely." Helen Slade

"I suppose it's because my psychiatrist changed my life - it's that simple. This person slowly helped me through difficult physical and mental stages to the point where I could again function, and hopefully, once again contribute to society."

Clifford Greenhalgh, a former member of the College's Carer's Forum talks about his experience of caring for his wife Freda who suffered from Alzheimer's and what services can do to improve the care of patients.

First presented at a public seminar as part of the 4th Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival in 2010.

SD writes about her personal experience of coming off Venlafaxine and the withdrawal symptoms she experienced. She also offers very practical advice for anyone considering stopping their medication.

  • Coming Apart : Music video featuring 'Friends of Emmet' about Kevin Hines' life

Kevin Hines is an extraordinary person who survived his suicide attempt when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  His life is now spent in suicide prevention and  he has recently secured a book deal. 

An Irish pop band ‘Friends of Emmet’ has written a song inspired by him and his life. The message is a very powerful one as the lyrics are inspired by the events leading up to Kevin's attempted suicide. The video reflects some of the extraordinary events on the day of his suicide attempt. However, the song is very upbeat with an incredibly moving and very powerful message of hope. The music is excellent and the lyrics are beautiful.

Dr Alys Cole-King

Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist

  • South West Division: The Lisa Thomas Poetry Prize

This is an annual prize open to anyone connected with mental health which takes place during the Spring each year with prizes being awarded at the South West Division's Spring Biannual Meeting.  There are three prizes, 1st Prize £300, 2nd Prize £150 and 3rd Prize £50.

The response for the recent competition was excellent and we received over 60 poems of a very high quality which made it very difficult for the judges, poets Victoria Field and Matt Harvey together with Dr Mike Metcalfe.  The prizes were presented and poems read by Victoria and Matt.  Unfortunately Emily Wills, Katherine Fyfe and Mark Lewis were unable to join us but we were delighted that Angela Hodges could be there to accept her prize.  Read the winners' entries.

July 2010

  • The Guardian: Tell us series

Readers of the You tell us series have asked the Guardian for more articles written from a personal perspective. In this series, the Guardian has commissioned Comment is free commenters to write above the line about their own experiences. Each person tackles a subject from a distinctive angle, and makes policy recommendations, in the hope that they will inspire others to comment below the line. The Guardian started the series by looking at mental health issues.

May 2010

Carers and SURF annual meeting 2009


A talk from the heart about the experiences of service users struggling on benefits and the governement's push to get people back into work through the Welfare Reform Bill.

by Graham Morgan from the Highland Users Group (HUG) at the Annual meeting of Services Users and Carers: 2009. Graham is also a member of the College's Service User Recovery Forum.

 Alex writes about her feelings of grief shortly after losing her father. (Sept 2009) 

A report from the Highland Users Group about the important links between mental and physical health. (2008)

by Graham Morgan of HUG (Highland Users Group). The text of a talk given at the RCPsych Annual Conference. (June 2007)

We welcome contributions from readers for this section of the website. Please email articles to the

Notes for contributors:

Articles should be less than 3,500 words. They should focus on the experience of being unwell or recovery. Ideally they should contain information that others might find useful. Apart from the Author they should not refer to individuals who could be identified. Not all articles submitted will be published. If you would like to recommend a book you may prefer to contribute to our new book review section


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