Hearing Voices Network Cymru was launched in 2001 at the ‘Mind Cymru’ conference in Llandrindod Wells.
Since then, for the last eighteen years, Hearing Voices Network Cymru has been supported by Hywel Davies.
In honour of his commitment and determination to spread the hearing voices approach we discussed how to ensure the sustainability and future development of the organisation.
In 2019 we decided to establish HVN Cymru as a formal not for profit organisation, registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee. Now to be known as Hearing Voices Network Cymru Ltd.
Hywel will continue as the president so the organisation will benefit from his knowledge, experience and determination.
The reasons for taking this step is to ensure the ongoing work of the organisation by establishing a Board of Directors to oversee the development of the organisation.
A major focus for future work will be to offer training in the hearing voices approach especially for individuals.
About Hearing Voices Network Cymru
We offer information, support and training to better understand and respond to the needs of people who hear voices and those who support them.
We promote the following values and understanding:
- The hearing of a voice or voices inaudible to others is a relatively common human experience.
- Triggered by bereavement, illness, unemployment, divorce or some other traumatic event, voice hearing is experienced by 10-15% of the population in their lifetime.
- 1% of the population are labelled by psychiatry as “schizophrenic”. 1% of the population are labelled by psychiatry as “bipolar”. 53% of people labelled by psychiatry as “schizophrenic” are voice hearers.
- 2.3% of the general population are voice hearers at any one given moment in time.
- To hear a voice or voices inaudible to others does not mean that one is severely mentally ill.
HVN Cymru is a member of INTERVOICE, the worldwide organisation for people who hear voices. There are Hearing Voices Networks in 36 countries of the world. Countries include Scotland, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. There are 170+ hearing voices groups in England alone.
There are 10 hearing voices groups in Wales.
The aims of the Hearing Voices Network Cymru are
- to support a Welsh network of people who hear voices and their allies to better understand the experience alongside workers, families and friends;
- to set up self-help groups and peer support of voice hearers to share experiences and discuss strategies for coping with voices;
- to raise awareness of society about the meaning of voices to reduce ignorance and stigma;
- to develop a range of non-medical ways of assisting people to cope with their voices;
- to improve the quality of life of people who hear voices and are distressed by them by providing training in the hearing voices approach techniques such as the Maastricht Interview Schedule; short and long term coping strategies; and ways to engage with voices including voice dialogue
- to increase the knowledge and experience mental health workers of the needs of people who hear voices and are distressed by them by providing training in the hearing voices approach techniques such as the Maastricht Interview Schedule; short and long term coping strategies; and ways to engage with voices including voice dialogue
- to share the experience of voice hearers who have not been in contact with psychiatric services with those who have.
If you would like your Hearing Voices peer support/self help group to be listed on this website, please contact us here.
The purpose of the Hearing Voices Cymru website is to raise awareness of hearing voices from a variety of perspectives and to state that because one hears voices or a voice inaudible to others does not mean that one is severely mentally ill.
The history of the network
By Hywel Davies
“I am from Pembrokeshire and the Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group was particularly active between 1996 and 2004. It used to hold monthly meetings in a pub. It used to hold public events. The public events included well-attended public talks by Ron Coleman, Marius Romme and Sandra Escher. Other public events involved Core Arts, Peter Campbell and a karaoke evening in a pub in Haverfordwest attended by 50+ people. Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group, in the eight year period, also produced three publications:
- Hearing Voices : An Information Pack
- Hearing and Belonging : The Newsletter Pack 2000
- Mental Health Factfile (in English and Welsh)
Public talks celebrating World Hearing Voices Day have been held annually on three occasions in Withybush Conference Centre in Haverfordwest. With the help of West Wales Action For Mental Health and Pembrokeshire Mind, the cumulative effect of the activities of Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group since 1996 is that the published ideas of Coleman, Romme and Escher are now mainstream in mental health services in Pembrokeshire.
We have continued to be active over the years.
In 2011 the Hearing Voices Resource Pack Fund was established. The Fund is intended to ensure information about the hearing voices approach is more widely available throughout the world. The main priority of the Fund is to encourage the development of active hearing voices initiatives at a national and local level. The resource pack is available to groups and individuals who support the work of the hearing voice movement. The fund enables over 70 Resource Packs to be disseminated each year made up of books and DVD’s about the hearing voices approach.
We have been monitoring and archiving news coverage about the hearing voices approach since 2011. We have a regularly updated FaceBook page called Hearing Voices Media Watch. We include mostly English language articles and news items from newspapers, journals and the new media from around the world. The news items are also archived on our website here according to the date of publication and are linked to the publication where the article appeared. We also provide a summary of the content.
On World Hearing Voices Day, Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, we celebrated our own day. The celebration was held at the Dolman Theatre, Newport, Gwent and was co-hosted by The Vision and Voices Hearing Voices Group from Newport and HVN Cymru. 100 people came along to share knowledge, experiences, stories, poetry and artwork.
In September 2012 HVN Cymru co-hosted the 4th World Hearing Voices Congress, held at the All Nations Conference Center, Cardiff, Wales. The congress celebrated the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Hearing Voices Movement. You can read Hywel’s key note speech here.
In 2015 HVN Cymru hosted Making Sense of Voices: A one day Awareness and Information Day For and About Young People Who Hear Voices in Carmarthen. This important event was for anyone hearing voices, care for or in contact with young people or children who hear voices and was facilitated by Rachel Waddingham from INTERVOICE who is a leading practitioner and voice hearer.
In 2017 HVN Cymru supported and co-hosted the International Mental Health Congress, in Cardiff, Wales alongside IMHCN and Public Health Wales
Since 2018 Hearing Voices Network Cymru has been a partner with IMHCN in running workshops for services and communities in Wales to raise awareness about the hearing voices and the discovery partnership approaches.
What can be done in Pembrokeshire can be done and is being done in other areas of Wales, the UK and elsewhere. As a result of the courage and intelligence of Coleman, Romme and Escher, the hearing voices movement is regarded as an important and humane phenomenon in the world of mental health throughout the world.
On behalf of Hearing Voices Network Cymru, I hope that you like the Hearing Voices Network Cymru website and find the website useful and helpful as a sign-post and as an awareness-raising resource that is positive and clear.
Pob dymuniad da i chi i gyd.
Every good wish to you all, whether you are a voice hearer or someone with an interest in the phenomenon of voice hearing.
Thank you very much to Rudy Peleman and Paul Baker for helping to design and compose this website.”
Hywel Davies Chair : Hearing Voices Network Cymru