Inspirational stories will be told at mental health event @HPFT_NHS

A special event will give people with experience of mental ill health the chance to hear inspirational stories from others while sharing their own ideas for promoting recovery.

Called Hearing Voices, it has been organised by Norwich Cathedral and is being supported by HPFT and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

Taking place on Wednesday 5 July, it will feature speeches from former Norwich City footballer Cedric Anselin who will share his story of living with depression.

Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, a stranger who stopped Jonny as he was about to take his life on Waterloo Bridge, will also both speak about how the encounter changed their lives and turned them into ambassadors for mental health.

In addition, anyone who has had a mental health issue, together with carers, will have the chance to share their experiences, views, ideas and suggestions with service providers such as HPFT and NSFT with the overall aim of helping make communities more recovery-friendly.

Canon Andy Bryant, from Norwich Cathedral, said: “During the event, people will be encouraged to explore the ‘what, who, how and why’ of coping. We will be asking what has helped or hindered their recovery, who has been there for them, how they have coped and where they have struggled so that we and work together to make our community more recovery-friendly.

“We hope that the cathedral will provide a safe space for difficult discussions so that people feeling comfortable talking openly and honestly about their experiences.”

Chris Lawrence, Chair of HPFT, said: “An important part of delivering great care and great outcomes is making the space and time to listen to the voices of our carers and service users.  We see this event as an important opportunity to talk with people from Norfolk, with learning disabilities and autism, to help us all work together to improve their lives and opportunities.”

NSFT Chair Gary Page said: “We are delighted that NSFT has been able to support this important event, which will give people the chance to share their own stories while listening to others.

“We would encourage anyone with personal experience of mental ill health, whether as a service user or carer, to come along and talk about their ideas so that we can work together to further improve our focus on recovery.”

Hearing Voices is on Wednesday 5 July between 2pm and 4.30pm in the Weston Room at Norwich Cathedral. The afternoon will be facilitated by Robert Ashton, Vice-Patron of the Norfolk Community Foundation.

For more information, contact Andy Bryant on 01603 218331 or email at