New patient and carer representatives have been appointed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to sit on its governing Council.
They will take up their posts in the new year as part of improvements to the way the College engages with patients and carers.
The College’s new model of co-production with patients and carers, called Working Together, builds on previous work done at the College involving patients and carers.
The Working Together model will see patient and carer representatives working collaboratively with various committees and teams across the College, to help the organisation in its role of shaping policy and setting standards and quality throughout mental health services.
After a highly competitive selection process, Simon Rose, lived experience educator, was appointed as patient representative, and Rachel Bannister, mental health campaigner, was appointed as carer representative.
Simon and Rachel will provide the patient and carer viewpoint to the Council – which meets once every three months – and, among other matters, leads on issues relating to professional standards and practice in mental health services and the training and education of psychiatrists.
Simon works for the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, where he supports and develops ways of getting the mental health patient voice and perspective heard in undergraduate medical education.
Simon, from Alfreton, said: “I’m really excited to be taking up this new post and looking forward to building on the work I do for the College.
“As a lived experience educator, I actively support and develop ways of getting the mental health patient voice and perspective heard in undergraduate medical education in Derbyshire.
“This new role will give me an opportunity to promote that voice even more widely.”
Rachel is the co-founder of Mental Health Time for Action, an organisation campaigning for fully-funded mental health services, whose daughter was sent hundreds of miles from home for treatment for an eating disorder.
Rachel, from Nottingham, said: “I am thrilled to be appointed as the College’s carer representative.
“I very much look forward to using my extensive experience as a carer to ensure the college continues to see lived experience as fundamental to progressive change and improvement in the understanding and treatment of those suffering from mental illness.”
Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “We are delighted to be appointing Simon and Rachel to Council and we look forward to working with them across all areas of the College’s work. Patient and carer involvement is essential to securing the best outcomes for people with mental illness.”
Simon and Rachel will take up their posts at the next meeting of Council, on Friday 10 January.