If viewing on a Mobile phone, scroll down for main webpage content. 

'Flights of Hope' archive.

Personal stories of Hope and Inspiration about mental wellness.

Click HERE to explore




'Take5' interactive resource

Explore your way... on your device!

Click HERE to explore


Welcome to The Mental Health Forum

For Membership enquiries please CLICK HERE

For Member Registration please CLICK HERE

You can download our leaflet below


MH Forum square fold flyer.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.4 MB]

What is The Mental Health Forum?

The Mental Health Forum was established in 1993 as a means of communicating mental health service user opinion to service providers and receiving information from service providers. Since that time the Forum has become the official voice of the service user community within the Southern Health & Social Care Trust.

We provide advice, information and signposting for service users, carers, professionals and the general public in relation to mental health services  throughout the Trust area.

We engage directly with service providers in planning, delivering and monitoring mental health services both locally and regionally.



We are leaders in:

  • Promoting awareness of mental health issues
  • Challenging stigma and discrimination
  • Promoting recovery orientated practice and initiatives
  • Developing opportunities for those experiencing mental ill health and those who care for them
  • Working in coproduction to improve mental health services
  • Providing access to advocacy support services

Who can be a member of The Mental Health Forum?

Any Mental Health Service User residing in the catchment area for The Southern Health & Social Care Trust may become a member if they are aged over 18, have present or past experience of accessing statutory services for their care, and uphold the Group agreement.

Why does The Forum call itself   'The voice of service users'?

Meeting around our table, participating via email and sitting as equals on many Trust and Regional working groups, we offer feedback, expertise and opinion on a wide range of mental health related issues within The Southern Health and Social Care Trust. We greatly value this opportunity for collaboration in the planning and delivery of services. As service users we offer perspective from our lived experience of mental illness and services; that voice reaches and influences the highest levels of planning, policy making and provision within The Trust as well as feeding into consultations on legislation and other major issues around mental health. The Service user voice is at the very heart of all decision making relating to the quality of service and experience.

Are there membership fee?

There are no standing membership fees for The Mental Health Forum

What is the Capacity Building Programme?

Service users & Carers directly involved in Co-production workstreams locally and regionally with Southern Health & Social Care Trust will come together for information sharing, planning, capacity building, and support. Our programme helps people prepare for and become involved in different levels of this activity.


If you are you are interested in learning more about Co-production and how you can personally conrtribute to positive change in mental health services - Click HERE or Telephone: 028 3025 2423   /  078 7626 1033


  • This is about using your lived experience as an asset...You already have something very valuable to contribute and the Forum Capacity Building Programme will provide and signpost to additional skills and opportunities that will help you become more knowledgeable, confident, and able to direct your passion into improving the experience of others in mental health services.
  • You have options - Not all opportunities are long-term or have a high time demand, so you will be able to select from opportunities, the pieces of work that best suit your life/work balance and your condition management or caring commitments.

Is the Forum run by the Southern Trust?

No -The Mental Health Forum is an independently constituted organisation registered with The Charity commission for Northern Ireland.


We work very closely with the Trust and also with other mental health groups but in order to be a credible voice for service users in this area our independence is crucial. Our Staff team are NOT Trust employees. Our team also includes peer staff who have personal experience of living with a metnal health condition and accessing services for supprt and treatment

Is there lots of jargon to deal with?

We try to limit the use of jargon, acronyms and clinical language in our meetings and in all related groups our members are involved with. 

If you do encounter any such language know that its perfectly OK to challenge/ask. Our Handy Jargon Buster Page may also help.

Thanks for your interest - Keep scrolling - We've loads more to tell you

I don't consider myself a service user anymore - Am I still about to join the Forum?

Yes - You are definitely still welcome - your lived experience is valued.

We are aware that some people will have different definitions of the term 'Service User' and that is perfectly OK. For purposes of our group, members need only have a mental health diagnosis and have accessed some kind of care for that condition via statutory services, even if now discharged and self-managing with the assistance of a GP. Not everyone sitting around our table regularly visits a Consultant or has a Keyworker, not everyone is living with a recent diagnosis. It doesn't matter how long ago you got your diagnosis or how you now choose to manage your condition; it is this very diversity that makes us such a strong and credible voice when we engage with Services or other Organisations - Come along and be part of it.


Your lived experience does not have to be current to allow you to get involved.

How are The Mental Health Forum & UCSIG connected?

UCSIG stands for "User and Carer Service Improvement Group" and it is a group comprised of service users, advocates, trust staff, carers, voluntary groups etc who meet to discuss a wide range of mental health related topics within The Trust; this opinion and feedback then feeds directly to Divisional management level and so can and does influence policy and practice. Our Forum is the vital Gateway through which information, queries, opinion and feedback filter into UCSIG and

to Divisional management.


The User and Carer Service Improvement group and The Mental Health Forum are links in a chain that allows the Service user voice to reach the ear of Senior Trust management, and indeed provides a way for them to directly engage with or consult their Service users. This engagement is at the heart of all planning and provision within Southern Trust Mental Health Services.

Who runs this website?

This website is the sole property of The Mental Health Forum and was conceived, designed and created by Forum members; there is a dedicated Service user led team of volunteers that maintains it but the whole Forum has a say in content and development.


We are particularly proud that our website demonstrates the potential of partnership working by welcoming interaction with professionals, carers, community & voluntary services, Forum members and other service users to develop the resources made available here. The valued contributions and feedback of you, friends of Our Forum, help to drive the evolution of this website.


Watch our DVD



CLICK the Image  to visit our DVD page



PCC Community involvement award December 2013


The Mental Health Forum, NIAMH and CAUSE won the Patient and Client Council Community Involvement Award for their  ‘Recovery in Action’ DVD project.


Maeve Hully, Chief Executive, Patient and Client Council; Councillor Martin Reilly (third from right), Mayor of Derry City Council; with representatives from the ‘Recovery in Action’ project Gordon Higham, Rory Cush, Caroline Ferguson, Arlene Wilson and Karl Hughes. SHSCT Photography.

Southern Trust Excellence award for Partnership Working

May 2014



Photo -Winners of all categories pictured at the ceremony in The Civic Centre, Craigavon.

The winning DVD "Recovery in Action" may be viewed HERE

SHSCT Photography

Print | Sitemap
© The Mental Health Forum - Southern Health & Social Care Trust Area, N. Ireland.... Your site use confirms an understanding and acceptance of the legal terms and conditions laid out in the Legal notices section of this website -