Voices Unlocked

Establishing and supporting a sustainable network of Hearing Voices Groups in prisons, secure units and Immigration Removal Centres.

For information on training, current groups and recent work, visit voicesunlocked.com

Hearing Voices Groups

Groups provide support, connection and hope for the thousands of people who hear voices, see visions or have other ‘unusual’ sensory experiences or beliefs in prisons and secure units.

Voices Unlocked supports individuals to share and to explore their experiences in safe, facilitated spaces, with the aim of reducing stigma, isolation and social exclusion. The project empowers people to develop effective coping strategies, improving their confidence and quality of life, and to understand their experiences within their own frames of reference.

Project Aims
  • Empower people in prisons, secure units and IRCs to take control of their voice-hearing experience and to learn ways of understanding and coping with them
  • Reduce the distress, fear and stigma experienced by voice-hearers within prisons, secure units and IRCs
  • Ensure that those involved in the project are connected to the Hearing Voices Network, preferably with the contact details of a specific group, on leaving a prison/secure unit

We offer a variety of free training courses, from our popular Understanding & Supporting People in Prison who Hear Voices and Hearing Voices Group Facilitation training, to more specialist courses such as complex trauma and dissociation.  We can also provide bespoke in-house training, to find out more, please email us.

Project Objectives
  • Stimulate interest and commitment from prisons, secure units, IRCs and voluntary agencies that work within them throughout the UK
  • Work alongside these organisations to set up well-facilitated Hearing Voices peer support groups
  • Train and support those already working in prisons, secure units and IRCs as group facilitators (including regular peer support meetings, 1:1 support and a buddying scheme)
  • Collate examples of good practice and distribute them in the form of guidelines, articles, training and a ‘how to’ guide for group facilitators
  • Develop and deliver an innovative programme of bespoke workshops for people in prisons who hear voices, see visions or have other ‘unusual’ sensory experiences/beliefs and mental distress

In 2010, Mind in Camden were awarded funding to develop a ground-breaking and innovative network of Hearing Voices peer support groups in prisons and forensic secure units across Greater London. This network, the first of its kind, now includes groups at HMP Pentonville, HMP Wandsworth, Springfield University Hospital’s Forensic Services and Wolfson House, among others.

Since 2014, we have been extending our support to prisons and secure units across the Home Counties, the Midlands and North East England. We also support to Immigration Removal Centres, and launched the first Hearing Voices group in an IRC at Harmondsworth in Hillingdon.

In April 2017 we were awarded funding to pioneer a new three-year project supporting women in prisons who hear voices. The majority of these women link their voices to trauma, abuse, domestic violence, poverty and other forms of adversity, and many use self-harm or substances as a means of coping with their histories and experiences.


Voices Unlocked is funded by the City Bridges Trust, The Tudor Trust and The Bromley Trust, the specific work in Women’s prisons is funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust (2017 – 2020).

Our work within Immigration Removal Centres is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and forms a part of our broader Refugees and Asylum Seekers project.


Ben Ellsworth
Voices Unlocked Development Worker