Well after much delay this is my first attempt at writing a blog. We (the Governors) have been thinking of ways we can make ourselves more accessible, so we thought that we could take it in turns to write a few words about what we feel we contribute to Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH). Our roles can be described as similar to MPs, as members vote for us and our role is to represent our ‘constituents’. What does it mean to represent? Before we look at that, let’s explore the reasons behind why I enjoy being a governor.
So why did I become a Governor? Well I used to be a university lecturer (in Psychology) and took early ‘retirement’ and spent almost 10 years volunteering as a CBT therapist at MHIST (a mental health charity in Bolton) where I became a trustee. This work gave me great insight into mental health issues and the support that is out there for people who need it. So, I became a member of GMMH (it’s easy follow this link). Once you are a member you can put yourself up for election. So what does being a Governor actually involve?
My feelings are we are ‘voice’ that has the ear of the highest levels of management in GMMH (and yes, they do listen and respond). For example, my colleague and I (there are two Governors for Bolton) have visited the mental health facilities at Bolton Royal Hospital and made several recommendations about aspects of its service. Similarly, I have been involved in a working group that is devising a new method of initial assessment to make the process more efficient and effective for the service user. So you can see being a Governor does involve some commitment but you really feel you are at the heart of decision making processes that are involved in running a very large organisation that employs (and helps) thousands of people. People with lived experience of mental health issues are actively encouraged to get involved. We do influence policy, hold GMMH to account and make a positive contribution to the services it provides.
I/we are here to help and we can be contacted via our Governors email address and we are always looking for new ways we can connect with members. All of the Council of Governors are passionate about the role they play but we can only respond to what people tell us, so over to you …………
Anyone can become a member of the Trust by registering online at www.gmmh.nhs.uk/members-governors, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0161 358 1607. Becoming a member is a great way to learn about more opportunities to get involved with the Trust and help to challenge stigma and discrimination. It also means you get to vote for who you want to represent you on the Council of Governors.
For more information about the elections, please visit www.gmmh.nhs.uk/governor-elections