Dr Victoria Patton writes:

Last year we delivered two ‘Knowledge is Power’ training workshops in London and Glasgow, and recruited a cohort of voice-hearers, family members and mental health professionals to provide us with feedback on Understanding Voices (UV). Thank you to those who generously gave up their time to share their thoughts on the website.

We’ve now completed an evaluation of the first full year of UV, based on an analysis of more than 100 questionnaire responses.

The majority of website visitors reported that the information on UV changed their understanding of hearing voices, reframing it as a human experience that can take place in lots of different contexts rather than a mere symptom of pathology.

“Reading about other people’s experience made me see hearing voices in another light. I thought that hearing voices is a sign of psychological dysfunction, now I understand that it is not…”

Voice-hearers and family members also reported that UV helped to improve their knowledge of coping strategies and where to go to find sources of support. The resources based on lived experience were said to be one of the site’s most useful features.

92% of mental health professionals using UV over a 3-month period said that UV enhanced their clinical practice, increasing their knowledge and confidence in working with people who hear voices and providing them with useful resources to share with clients.

“This website will now always be my ‘go to’ for info re. voice-hearing. I like that I can recommend it to my patients and I know the website will be normalising and not stigmatising for them. It is great that there is so much info/advice/support all in one place”

Mental health practitioner

In terms of suggestions for future development, people said that they’d like us to provide ‘easy read’ versions of key sections of the website and translate the ‘Quick Reads’ into other languages, particularly those spoken by minority ethnic groups in the UK. We’re now working hard to produce these resources – so watch this space for their release!

A copy of the full evaluation report for anyone who would like to read it is available from Victoria Patton.

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