The day was led by the internationally acclaimed trainer Rachel Waddingham who is a voice hearer herself and managed the Voice Collective project between 2009 and 2015. Rachel is also the vice chair of ISPS UK and a trustee of Hearing Voices Network England.
Rachel was supported by Paul Baker a co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network, Intervoice, Hearing Voices Cymru and a Non Executive of the International Mental Health Collaborating Network (IMHCN), Hywel Davies Chair of Hearing Voices Cymru and Director IMHCN, John Stacey Hearing Voices Cymru and IMHCN and Nyfed Griffiths, Coordinator of the Hearing Voices Group in Carmarthenshire.
The event was attended by over 50 people that ranged from: Voice Hearers, Family Members, Friends, Health Services, CAMHS, Social Care and the Voluntary Sector.
Using examples based on the innovative Voice Collective in London the participants explored the experience of hearing voices and seeing visions in childhood and adolescence. During presentations and group activities explored potential triggers and causes for voice hearing and the links between voices, emotions and difficult life experiences.
The participants identified ways to challenge stigma in the community, schools and youth projects. The participants explored ways in which we can talk to young people about voices and visions and discussed practical strategies that can help young people who have these experiences. The groups discussed how peer support can be helpful and we heard from young people and family members with insights into their experiences of hearing voices and what helped or hindered.
The feedback from participants was enthusiastically positive with some individuals expressing an interest in forming a young persons hearing voices group in the area.
The day will be followed up with further skills based training in the near future.
The event was sponsored by: Hywel Davies and West Wales Action for Mental Health (WWAMH)