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What we do

About us

Suffolk User Forum (SUF), is the voice for mental health service users in the East and West of Suffolk.

We are a respected user led charity and everyone involved in the charity as has lived experience of mental health as either a service user or family carer.

We provide the following services, working to give mental health service users a powerful unified voice for their experiences of care and support, promoting individuals’ rights, options and choices for care and support.

  • Advocacy Together – inpatient mental health, non-statutory, peer-led advocacy, and support for self-advocacy, promoting statutory rights, choices and options for mental and physical health support and treatment, highlighting and reporting patient safety, inequalities, and discrimination.
  • Peer Telephone Support – promoting connection, communities and reducing isolation.
  • Healthy Together Peer Support for people living with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), supporting physical healthcare needs and annual health checks, addressing health inequalities.
  • Five Ways to Wellbeing courses and support materials – building wellbeing and self-care for those marginalised by NHS services.
  • Engagement and reporting services, gathering, and reporting service user and family carer experiences of mental health services, care and treatment.
  • Coproduction to ensure meaningful service user and family carer involvement to make positive service improvement happen.
  • Signposting for support and help to navigate the mental health system.
  • Support and information during COVID19, including Questions and Answers about services and support during the pandemic
  • Workshops exploring recovery and living well.

We receive core funding from the Mental Health Pooled Fund, to be a strategic partner with Suffolk County Council and NHS commissioners to ensure that the voices of people with mental health and wellbeing needs are at the heart of service planning, delivery, improvements and commissioning.

We work with service providers and commissioners to ensure the voice of lived experience is central to improving emotional wellbeing and mental health services in East and West Suffolk. This is achieved through our engagement and advocacy work, which alongside supporting people, prioritises the gathering and recording of people’s experiences of services.

By connecting areas of individual feedback together, we draw together key themes and emerging trends in mental health experience. These are reported regularly in the SUF publication titled ‘Making our Voice Count’ which is presented to providers, commissioners and to strategic partners, to influence decision making and to promote coproduction, so that providers and commissioners can understand and actively respond to the current lived experience of people with mental health and emotional wellbeing needs.

We have seven key objectives;

  1. Increasing parity of esteem by raising the profile of mental and physical health .
  2. Ensure that the voices of service users and family carers are at the heart of service transformation through the development of the new mental health strategy #AveryDifferentConversation and future implementation plans.
  3. Use knowledge and feedback gained from service user and family carer engagement to contribute to improving existing services and shaping the design of future models
  4. Provide a service that gives individual service users and family carers an increased understanding of the local mental health system and where they can access help and support.
  5. Facilitate opportunities for mental health service users and family carers to meaningfully come together; promoting communities, reducing isolation and lowering impact on statutory services.
  6. Continue to actively contribute to the development of the suicide prevention plan in Suffolk drawing from the insights and feedback from service users and family carers.
  7. To promote statutory and human rights, choices and options for care and treatment through delivering independent mental health advocacy to people in acute mental health care settings and forensic services as an active partner in Total Voice Suffolk Advocacy Services.

Our Mission – To be an inclusive and trusted mental health user led network that values, promotes and strengthens the user voice for positive change, independence, human rights, choice and control.

Our Vision – To be the leading organisation in East and West Suffolk, championing equal and valued partnerships between mental health service users, commissioners and providers; combining mutual strengths and experience to improve services, achieving positive emotional and mental health for all.

Our values are;

  1. We are caring and compassionate
  2. We speak out & together we make a difference
  3. We are open, honest and trustworthy
  4. We are inclusive and have people at our heart