It is now 20 years since the first issue of Your Voice appeared in Sheffield. Produced in November 1997 by the Mental Health User Representatives group in association with editor Juliet Dunmur, its front page article introducing the new venture read:
“The aim of this magazine is to become a user-friendly source of information and support, which will provide a platform for different user groups and professionals without owing allegiance to any one organisation.
We hope to promote dialogue between users, carers and professionals delivering mental health services and provide information about what is actually happening within the service and what it feels like to be a service user.”
Thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers, editors, contributors and readers who have supported the magazine during the past 20 years, we believe that Your Voice has achieved its aims. The magazine has played an important role in enabling groups and individuals to connect with each other; in promoting positive images of people with lived experience of mental health problems; and in widening the understanding of mental distress and what people find helpful and unhelpful in responding to it. Although the future of the magazine is uncertain, this legacy will remain.
Looking back to earlier issues, one of the main differences between now and then has been our growing focus on creativity and artistic expression. As well as reporting on the Creative Artists’ commission for Woodland View, this issue also features creative writing from Judith Haire, and an article from the very talented and perceptive artist It Snipped My Heart about using creativity to make sense of, come to terms with and express traumatic experience.