Debbie Frances comes to Phoenix Nights

Abstract graphic with Recovery Devon logo. Text reads "Recovery Devon invites you to Phoenix Nights, a free series of online talks about what it means to be fully human."

Recovery Devon’s next Phoenix Night on Tuesday February 23rd is definitely one not to miss:

Debbie Frances’ talk: “Who cares? A carer’s perspective of mental health services – and the hope of change” will be the first Recovery Devon event to have a BSL interpreter thanks to a grant from NSUN (National Survivor User Network).

Please join us from 7:30pm – 9pm for Debbie’s talk followed by a Question & Answer session.

“I am Debbie Frances, and my interest in mental health began back in 2009 when my daughter developed severe mental health issues at the age of 15.  In 2013, I set up a community-based early intervention peer support network for young people with mental health issues.  Initially called The Project, and now operating as Headlight, this service has supported many hundreds of young people across East Devon.  I now deliver mental health awareness training to people working with or supporting young people, through my social enterprise, The Project Training & Consultancy.

As the parent of a young adult with complex and enduring mental health challenges, I am passionate about supporting parent carers to be part of their child’s recovery, and in changing the way clinicians engage with parents.  As such, I also deliver training to mental health staff across Southwest England on the importance of parent carer engagement, and am involved in a number of projects to improve the way parents are included, and have a voice in, their child’s care.  In 2018, I was very proud to be awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, to carry out research into initiatives preventing the escalation and recurrence of mental illness in young people, which saw me travel to Australia in autumn 2019, and Finland in (pre-COVID) spring 2020.  I am currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion through the University of Hertfordshire.

My talk, titled “Who cares? A carer’s perspective of mental health services – and the hope of change” will in part be a personal account of my experience as a carer, highlighting why change is needed within mental health services around parent/carer involvement, and why the lived experience perspective is vital to delivering effective and person-centred care. I will also share the challenges and learning from my Churchill Fellowship, which has shown and inspired me that change is possible’.