The People’s Conference took place in November 2022. The People’s Conference is an event held every year for and by people with lived experience of mental health issues. CAPS’ Lothian Voices collective advocacy group organise the conference.
“The Price of Recovery” was the topic of the People’s Conference this time around. We explored ideas around the financial, time, and energy costs of accessing services that would be helpful for people’s mental health. The Conference started with a panel discussion in the morning, with speakers Maggie Chapman MSP and representatives from Home Energy Scotland, Changeworks, Nourish, and the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty. Basically we asked the speakers: “What are you or your organisation doing to help people in the cost of living crisis, and what are the gaps in services that you see?”.
This helped to spark the afternoon discussion on what uses up people’s energy the most. We used the “spoon theory” for this. Spoons represent units of energy that a person needs to do their various activities, including accessing services. Too few spoons mean that someone isn’t able to do everything they might wish to. We found that travel was the most common “spoon-stealer” of the day. We also discussed how people could increase their own spoons, for example by resting. Additionally we talked about how services could take as little energy to access as possible, for example by being close to home. Lothian Voices are currently writing up a report on the People’s Conference where you will be able to find out more about what we learnt through the day.
About Lothian Voices
Lothian Voices is a collective advocacy project bringing people together from across Lothian. CAPS Independent Advocacy facilitates the group. The group ensures that people with experience of mental health issues have a voice. They make sure that decision makers hear their views on mental health services. They have submitted consultation responses on topics such as the Mental Health Law Review and the Scottish Adult Social Care Service. The group are active members of the Mental Health Cross Party Parliamentary group of the Scottish Parliament. They regularly attend, submit responses and take part in oral evidence sessions.