Georgia's story of being an Expert by Experience

Georgia, from our Experts by Experience programmes, shares her experience of accessing mental health services and why getting involved in shaping our services is important to her.

“I grew up in a very dysfunctional, family with a lot of mental health issues and domestic abuse. I suffered a lot of trauma and was put into care when I was eight and moved around quite a lot and had other traumatic experience, which affected me later on in life.

“I first came into contact with mental health services when I was 12 or 13, I had started to really struggle with my mental health and my risks escalated from there. My mood was really low, I’d experienced lots of trauma which then had a negative impact on my mental health.

“I developed an eating disorder and I started to self harm, and I was just really isolated. I didn’t tell anyone.

“When my school, and my foster carers found out, my social worker put a referral into child and adolescent mental health services. I waited quite a few months to see someone at first, and when I eventually did it was just an initial assessment. So, no support was actually offered.

“They were just assessing me for my mental health and my needs at that time. In the process of waiting, there was no support and in that few months I was getting worse and my physical health and my mental health were just deteriorating.

“That continued to happen, even when I did get access to services for my mental health and regular appointments it was too late because my risk had just become so high.

“When I was 16, I was sectioned for two years, and I had to move to five different wards in three separate hospitals.

“Since my time in mental health services I’ve become a forum member for Level Up and EmpowerED because it gives me a purpose, and as an ex-service user for inpatient services it gives me a unique perspective and I feel like I’m truly able to give back.

“I like to be able to act as a voice for people who have previously not felt heard, and our feedback will help people who are at the beginning avoid the issues I’ve faced with mental health services.

“As a forum member I’m able to regularly meet with senior clinicians, alongside people like Tim Welch, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as work alongside the commissioning team to make a difference to services across the North West.”

Georgia, Expert by Experience forum member