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Anne Beales Receives Member of the British Empire for Services to Mental Health

By Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D. - 12/10/2007

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Anne Beales Receives Member of the British Empire for Services to Mental HealthA very effective consumer advocate, Anne Beales, whom I met in Canada in August, 2007 has been awarded the important MBE by Queen Elizabeth. Anne has coordinated the formation of a national network of mental health consumers across England similar to the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivors we are forming here. Anne is working with me and leaders from other countries to form an International Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivors.

The following is a news release of the event:

“Brighton-based campaigner Anne Beales has been awarded an MBE for services to mental health. A long-standing campaigner for mental health, Anne has fought tirelessly over many years to improve access to mental health services and the rights of those with mental health needs. Anne’s role as Director of Service-User Involvement at national mental-health charity Together, is unique within service-delivery organizations in the sector, and she was instrumental in setting up the National Service-User Network, a national network for local mental-health service-user groups. Anne was also responsible in developing Together’s Directorate of Service-User Involvement, a unique new arm of Together, which supports local service-user groups, informs and develops Together’s service-user involvement work, and offers advice to other organisations wishing to improve practice in this area.

“Liz Felton, Together’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Anne Beales is passionate, articulate and an extremely effective spokeswoman for those who use and have used mental-health services. She has worked tirelessly over many years for the improvement of services based on the expertise of the people who access them. We are very proud of the work done by her and the team at Together and believe she richly deserves this award.’

“Anne, who collected her award from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace this week [Nov., 2007], believes “This should be seen not as a personal award, but as an acknowledgement of the excellent work achieved across the wider service-user movement in mental health. The contribution of the many hundreds of people who give their time and energy to secure changes for those who experience mental distress. Working in partnership to bring about positive change” would be the best summary of my working philosophy. As someone who has accessed mental-health services, and continues to do so, I have personal insight and empathy with others involved. My recovery, which I see as a process, has relied on support from outside of service provision. Lessons I have learned have added to my commitment to work for positive change.”