Hearing Voices Groups are valued by both staff and group members. Since the launch of the first group at HMP Holloway, we have noticed a positive impact on both the people who attend the group and the wider prison environment. The following shares some examples of the feedback we have got from the staff we work with in London’s prisons.
Feedback has been amazing, since commencing the Hearing Voices Group I have been approached by staff, prisoners and charities asking how women can be referred and how great the group has been.
Outside of the group, I have recorded the following feedback from members: ‘fantastic group’, ‘I feel like I belong’, ‘finally others who understand’, ‘thank you for giving me hope’, ‘I thought I would never be understood’, ‘Can I please come back as a Day Visitor and attend the group’ and ‘thank you so much for letting me realise I am normal’.
One of the members has left prison and has made contact with outside groups and is feeling more hopeful for the future. Current members report that they look forward to ending the week at the Hearing Voices Group. No matter how negative a week has been, Friday always gives them hope for the weekend. This hope and positive peer support is not found within the prison format. This project enables us to make such a positive impact in these ladies lives.
Julie, Registered Mental Health Nurse, HMP Holloway
“The Hearing Voices Group has enabled the women to share experiences in a safe and respectful environment – in turn they have discovered that they are not alone. It provides a safe and supportive space where the women know that they can be heard and respected. The women use it to access support and advice from each other regarding how to cope with their experiences and work towards gaining greater control over what is happening to them. It is essential to their quality of life.
Other staff in the Day Centre have noted that some of the women who attend the Hearing Voices Group seem less concerned by their voices during the Day Centre sessions. The group is empowering people. For example, one group member has changed her opinion. She no longer feels hospital is the answer, but feels that she wants to move forward with her life. I believe she has taken group strength from interacting with a positive role model who has ‘lived experience’. I could not imagine there not being a group now. It would be such a loss to the women and the prison”
Beth, Activities Co-ordinator and Co-facilitator, HMP Holloway
“The training that has been provided to staff as part of this project has been really exciting for people, a real break from the norm. As a Manager, I have certainly seen our facilitators clinical skills develop over the time they have been running the groups, thinking in a more developed way about the women and the symptoms they present with. Officers, Drugs Worker, Counsellors and Nurses have all expressed interest to me in attending further training.
If the project was able to continue for a longer period of time, this would allow more people to get involved, and would have the opportunity to really keep the Hearing Voices Network going in Holloway”
Chrissy Reeves, Head of Mental Health, HMP Holloway
“KB stated that the Hearing Voices Training event on 13 October 2011 in the Chapel went well and was seen to be a huge success with volunteers from the Samaritans leaving the establishment buzzing from the event”
Quote from Safer Custody Group minutes 25.10.11