Dorothy is a survivor of mental health services with a passionate commitment to equality for people from all communities. She is an active member of the service user/survivor movement: in this country and internationally.
Dorothy trained as a social worker originally. She also has qualifications in counselling, education and management and has received extensive input as a survivor researcher. She has held social care posts at both practitioner and middle management levels: in organisations which provide services for people with a mental health diagnosis, people with learning difficulties, older people and people with physical and/or sensory disabilities. As an employee, she worked hard to ensure that service users from all communities were central to services and had a real influence at every level of an organisation, but found that service users’ perspectives often failed to be taken on board.
More recently, Dorothy has worked as a freelance consultant. She has found it easier to promote the voices of people using services and equality of opportunity for all service users from a freelance position. Currently she:
- Provides training about person-centred approaches, listening and group work skills, issues for older people, mental health awareness from a holistic viewpoint and anti-discriminatory practice
- Makes presentations about mental health policy and law from a service user/survivor perspective
- Acts as an adviser for organisations about the involvement of service users in the running of their agency and supports service users with obtaining the influence which they want in organisations
- Facilitates a support group for service user involvement workers who have themselves experienced mental distress
- Takes part in reviews of mental health services in health and social care. She has, for instance, been a reviewer for CHI, CHAI and the Healthcare Commission in England and is currently a reviewer for the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
- Takes on work as a survivor researcher about issues which matter to service users
Dorothy is currently leading a piece of research about the effectiveness of the 2008 Care Programme Approach in promoting recovery as service users understand it.