Reachout Challenge 2019

Anti stigma and discrimination of mental illness
Hear Us Croydon / Reachout Challenge 2019

The Reachout Challenge is Hear Us’ project focused on fighting the stigma and discrimination of mental illness and mental health difficulties. We are a team of people, with a variety of mental health difficulties, who visit organisations across London to raise awareness. We encourage the organisations we work with to have a more ‘open policy’ towards mental health, enabling their staff to talk about their mental wellbeing without shame and embarrassment.

The Reachout Challenge continues to provide support to the Metropolitan Police’s crisis negotiating course at Hendon Police Training College in North London and also the same course, run twice yearly, at Maidstone Police Training College. These events give the officers a unique opportunity to ask us questions, about living with our mental health challenges, that they cannot do when they are ‘on the job’. The journey continues to be a challenge but we support each other to make it possible to do so. The appreciation shown and feedback we receive is one of the main driving forces to continue and to encourage new people to join us.

“This has been brilliant; I’d love to pass it onto members of my team back in my day role.  It has humanised mental illness and I cannot thank these people enough. Their openness and honesty is greatly appreciated and provided a glimpse into their personal life and struggles” .Croydon Police

Participants often feedback that they learn far more with this model than they ever could in a classroom setting or by reading a book. During the second part of a session, we break away into small groups consisting of two or three volunteers and a number of participants, who then have very candid conversations about our diagnoses and experiences. We also encourage the staff to share any experiences they have had, either personally or professionally.

“Being part of the Reachout Project has helped me in so many ways. It has helped me build my very low confidence back up – enough to go back to work after four years – and increased my self-esteem. After watching other Reachout Volunteers, I was eventually confident enough to tell part of my story to police officers. This was so cathartic for me and helped me gain closure to a very painful period in my life. It helped me combat my fear of the police after a traumatic experience. Amongst other things I now help deliver training to SLaM staff from a service user perspective, to hopefully help improve the experience for other service users and carers”

Reachout Volunteer

If you are interested in becoming a Reachout Volunteer, please contact:

Barbra Davison
Reachout Challenge Project Lead
Hear Us
Fairfield House
10 Altyre Road
East Croydon
Mobile: 07749 156 828