Survivors History archive - Hamlet Trust
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Welcome to Hamlet Trust

Supporting the development of community-based and user-led mental health initiatives, to enable people to build better lives in developing countries and those in transition.

Last updated: 27th April 2007   

A digital video of the 15th Anniversary event, originally available online, has been archived offline

P2P toolkit - click to download Pathways to Policy toolkit is launched
Pathways to Policy: A toolkit for grassroots involvement in mental health policy draws on the work of many of Hamlet's partners, and is a tool to enable NGOs and user groups to promote the voice of service users in the development of mental health policy.
To download the full version of the toolkit click here
To download the Word file of the workshop tools (for local adaptation) click here .
For a leaflet about the toolkit click here.
Hard copies, with an accompanying CD Rom, can be obtained by emailing the Mental Health Foundation.
The Pathways to Policy toolkit is jointly published by Hamlet Trust and the Mental Health Foundation, with support from the Big Lottery Fund and the Open Society Mental Health Initiative.

Being enterprising - Hamlet Trust and PNE launch Business Support for Mental Health project
STOP PRESS: Click here for the final report, Business Minds: Research findings from the Newcastle Demonstration project

Hamlet Trust has joined forces with Project North East (PNE), a UK organisation, to pilot a scheme to help people with mental health problems set up their own businesses in the north-east of England. While business start-up advice centres have long existed in the UK, the new Mainstreaming Business Support for Mental Health project is the first of its kind specifically designed to help people with mental health problems to start their own enterprises.

Hamlet Trust and PNE, with a grant from the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust, have authored guidelines of how business counsellors and advisers can help these clients get the most from a meeting with them. The guidelines were authored with the help of business advisers in conjunction with mental health service users. PNE logo

Lionel Joyce, a contributor to the project, is a shining example of how people with mental health problems can set up a successful firm. He remembers suffering his first bouts of depression when he was just teenager and spent 9 months in psychiatric hospitals as a young man. Despite his difficulties he rose to become the head of the Newcastle City Health Trust, and then in his late 50s he set up a management consultancy which works with health organisations to provide better care for mental health patients.

"People seem to feel as ashamed about depression as they do about schizophrenia even though it's all a normal part of life," he said. "I think I will be running the business for a long time. I can't ever see myself stopping as I know how important it is to give the patient a voice."

Click here to download the Mainstreaming Business Support for Mental Health guidelines. If you are a service user, business support professional or mental health professional and have any views on the guidelines, or are doing similar work and would like to discuss the project, contact Stuart Anderson at PNE by clicking here or phone 0191 261 6009.

Listen to interview on Radio Newcastle with Lionel Joyce and Stuart Anderson by clicking here!


The Board of the Hamlet Trust has made the difficult decision that the organisation will close its operations in early May 2007.

All at the Trust would like to express their thanks to the many organisations, funders and individuals the Trust has worked with over the years. With their help, Hamlet Trust has been instrumental in developing opportunities to promote user involvement in mental health and wellbeing in 20 countries over the last two decades.

While the Hamlet Trust website will also close in early May, the ENUSP (European Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) website continues to contain the contact details of many of Hamlet's partner organisations.

We hope and anticipate that the excellent work of Hamlet's partner organisations will continue long beyond the lifetime of the Hamlet Trust.


New article published in Mental Health Review on Pathways to Policy programme. Click here to read the article. For the Mental Health Review website click here

Hamlet Trust announces new partnership with Mental Health Foundation

Hamlet Trust is entering into a partnership with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), a major NGO working in the areas of research, developing services, training, influencing policy and raising public awareness within the UK.

Peter Barham presenting certificate to Hamlet
Network Members the Union of Users and Ex-users of Georgia

Peter Barham, Founder and Honorary President of Hamlet Trust, says, "This exciting initiative will see Hamlet and MHF working together on innovative new projects such as taking forward Article 12 of the WHO Action Plan for Mental Health, which relates to user empowerment and was agreed at the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health in Helsinki in January 2005." MHF and Hamlet Trust will be conducting research and working with local partners to draw up national strategies for user involvement for member states of the WHO European Region.

In the coming months Hamlet Trust will also be continuing with its current projects, which include:

  • early intervention and support for young people in Estonia experiencing first episodes of mental health problems
  • developing a state-supported forum in Georgia to carry out the revision and implementation of mental health legislation
  • supporting the development of the newly-launched Local Policy Forum in Tirana, Albania, part of the Pathways to Policy programme
  • advocacy projects in hospitals in Romania aimed at protecting patients' human rights, with the projects run by ex-service users trained as advocates

      Hamlet Trust is now co-located at the Mental Health Foundation - details are below. We look forward to continuing our work with Hamlet’s friends both in the UK and across the Hamlet Network.

      Hamlet Trust
      c/o Mental Health Foundation
      9th Floor, Sea Containers House
      20 Upper Ground
      London SE1 9QB
      Tel: +44 (0)20 7803 1160
      Fax: +44 (0)20 7803 1111
      To email us click here

    • Albanian service users – having a say in mental health policy

      “I have used mental health services for many years, but I’ve never before had an opportunity to stand up and give my opinion of how those services should be run.” These are the words of Orieta Kallushi, a service user speaking at the launch of Hamlet Trust’s Pathways to Policy programme in Tirana, Albania.

      Workshop participants in Tirana, Albania

      Over 60 stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, from service users and carers to media, lawyers, mental health professionals, municipal representatives and other NGOs, joined together at an Open Forum to launch the programme in Albania on 22nd September 2005. They discussed how they could be involved in developing mental health policy – previously almost exclusively the reserve of traditional “experts” in Albania. With the support of the Open Society Mental Health Initiative and the UK Community Fund, Hamlet Trust is working in partnership with local NGO Alternativa, who are hosting the Local Policy Co-ordinator post, to be shared by Adri Bicaku and Alkent Birko, a service user.
      Mapping the Tirana mental health policy The Open Forum had been preceded by a two-day policy skills workshop conducted by Jonathan Bureau of Hamlet Trust and Gabriela Tanasan, the Hamlet Local Policy Co-ordinator for the Pathways to Policy forum in Romania. Along with her colleague from the Romanian forum Beatrice Podasca, Gabriela shared invaluable experience of how the project has brought about real change in Romania.

      One of the achievements of the week was for workshop participants to prioritise what they perceive to be the most critical mental health issues in Tirana. The following priorities were included on the agenda of the first meeting of the Tirana Local Policy Forum, held in mid-October 2005.

      • Lobbying the government to ensure that more funds are directed towards mental health. The Albanian Ministry of Health currently does not allocate a separate, specific budget for mental health.

      • Campaigning for the increased provision and quality of community services. Alternativa’s day centre is currently the only one of its kind in Tirana, providing activities and a place to meet for 30-40 service users every day.

      • Providing more education and information about mental health, with the aim of (a) improving mental health of service users and (b) reducing stigma and discrimination in society towards people with mental health problems.

      • Getting involved in making amendments to legislation, and helping to tackle the twin problems of corruption and lack of implementation.

      • Lobbying and campaigning local government and business to ensure equal opportunities for housing, employment and education.

      The first meeting of the new Tirana Local Policy Forum took place on 12th October 2005, where particpants had the chance to start developing strategy plans to tackle these issues.

      TEIS logo Reaching out to young people in Estonia

      A first experience of mental health problems can be a frightening, disorientating experience. First episodes of psychosis are mostly experienced by those between the ages of 15 and 25 years, yet it is often the young who receive least support, with the stigma and feeling of isolation often particularly acute.

      A new Hamlet Trust project in Estonia, funded by the Open Society Mental Health Initiative, will develop support for young people newly diagnosed with psychosis. The Tallinn Early Intervention in Psychosis Services (EIS), supported by Hamlet NMO the Estonian Psychosocial Rehabilitation Association and with a base at the Tallinn Mental Health Centre, set up a self-help group in 2004, the first of its kind for young people in Estonia. With the new funding, the group will be able to expand its activities, disseminate information on mental health to the general public and enable staff and service users to develop recovery plans and make social inclusion a reality. EIS Estonia group

      Up to now a lack of early support has meant that up to 100 young people a year have been hospitalised in Tallinn. Project Manager Krista Onksion says “By getting to know their stories, working in a trust-based relationship and involving them in making choices about their future, young people can be empowered to tackle their problems that might otherwise result in hospitalisation. The earlier young people engage in their journey to recovery the more likely it is that they will resume ordinary activities, including education, occupation and relationships."

      Project Assistant Kadri Jarve and a service
user One group member said, “Since I started coming to this group I’ve found very much hope and belief in myself. I can do what I couldn’t do before and I’ve become a stronger person who can be happy just being myself!”

      Hamlet Policy Conference presses World Health Organisation into action

      The influence of user-led NGOs in shaping mental health policy has received a huge boost following Hamlet's Rethinking Mental Health Policy conference in Slovenia in October 2004. Over 120 mental health stakeholders, including many service users, attended the conference along with representatives from 3 international policymaking bodies and 28 national and international NGOs. Many took the opportunity to lobby the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recognise the voice of users as an integral element in the shaping of mental health policy. Delegates sent special postcards featuring the conference logo (right) to senior figures in the mental health departments of WHO in Denmark and Switzerland. This raised awareness of the views and grass-roots experiences of people with mental health problems, and the proactive sharing of life stories and experiences has already had a positive impact.

      Painting: 'Five of Them' by Igor Spreizer

      One of the recipients of those postcards was the Acting Regional Advisor for Mental Health Dr Matt Muijen. Dr Muijen subsequently invited Hamlet Trust to meet with health ministers and other high-level decision-makers and NGOs from throughout Europe in January 2005 in Helsinki, Finland, at the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health. At the Conference, ministers endorsed a mental health declaration and an action plan for Europe. These are expected to drive policy on mental health in the WHO European Region for at least the next five years.

      International Policy Conference venue Lake Bled,
Slovenia Jane Shears, Hamlet’s representative at the Helsinki meeting, said, “Everyone present recognised it was invaluable to have a forum such as this for useful dialogue between the NGOs and the WHO. This mechanism ensures that the views of service users are represented at the highest levels of policy-making”.

      Click here to download the Rethinking Mental Health Policy conference brochure.

      Walls come tumbling down

      "During the course of just 3 to 4 forums, I have changed my views about mental health by 80%". So said Dr Janibek Ajybekov, chief psychiatrist at Chim Korgon Psychiatric Hospital, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. He was speaking about the meetings of the forum set up in Bishkek as part of Hamlet’s Pathways to Policy (P2P) programme. Janibek was participating at the P2P International Policy Workshop held in early February in Turkey, bringing together 25 participants from 5 countries to review the successes of the first year of the programme (the 2nd year for the Estonian forum) and to make plans for the next year.

      Janibek Ajybekov and Jyldyz Bekenbaeva, Kyrgyz
      Dr Janibek Ajybekov and Jyldyz Bekenbaeva, Kyrgyz Forum

      Janibek's story is similar to those in the other 4 countries, Estonia, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania, where decision makers and medical professionals have been coming together with family members and service users to discuss tactics for improving the lives of people with mental health problems, to influence legislation and raise awareness amongst the general public. Trust has been built and people who would rarely come into contact in such an environment are now working to achieve common goals. "I had internal conflicts for some time," said Janibek, "but now I understand, support and work towards the aims of the forum".

      The workshop provided an opportunity for members of the forums, whatever their background, to learn new skills and share their experiences. Kristi, a member of the forum in Tallinn, Estonia, said "We learnt how much the Local Policy Forum can change the life of the service user." Getting local business and the media was also found to be a vital way to involve the local community, change perceptions, and to help ensure the sustainability of forums beyond 2004.

      George Soros and Aryeh Neier help Hamlet celebrate its 15th anniversary

      *NEW Digital video of event now online -

      View Webcast Now

      Hamlet Trust celebrated 15 years of achievement in mental health in late October by inviting close to 100 guests to a cocktail reception in central London. Guests from the world of mental health, business, politics and the eastern European community in London were joined by funders who have been instrumental in Hamlet’s growth over the years. Guests of Honour were George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute - a major supporter of Hamlet for 10 years - and Aryeh Neier, President of OSI New York.

      George Soros giving a speech at Hamlet Trust's
Anniversary event
      George Soros giving a speech at Hamlet's 15th anniversary event

      Mr Soros praised survivors of the psychiatric system in central and eastern Europe and central Asia for "showing vision and commitment" in building better lives - over 8,000 people have changed their lives for the better since Hamlet Trust was formed in the north of England back in 1988. "The Trust’s network is leading the way in the critical areas of advocacy, social enterprise and policy reform", he said, "and helping to ensure that those with mental health problems can fully participate as stakeholders in society".

      Guests at the anniversary event learned more about the work of Hamlet Trust, while each took home a candle made by members of the candle workshop at Al ternativa, a Hamlet Network Member Organisation (NMO) in Albania. One lucky guest even snapped up a fine hand-woven rug made at the carpet workshop run by another Hamlet NMO, the Mental Health Foundation Armenia.

      A highly enjoyable evening was rounded off with the awarding of raffle prizes - which promptly turned into an auction! Special thanks go to the donors of prizes: Key Travel for providing two tickets to a European capital, and Mrs Jacqueline Land and our very own Igor Spreizer - Hamlet Trust Regional Associate and Co-editor of Hamlet Snapshots - for providing two exquisite works of art made by themselves. Thanks also to Jeff Vickers, for donating his photography skills and subsidising display boards for the evening.

      Here’s to the next 15 years of building better lives!

      Hamlet Trust's 15th Anniversary Event

      Researching needs in BiH

      Research sponsored by Hamlet Trust is helping a self-help group in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), to improve the lives of hundreds of the most disadvantaged users of mental health services.

      Tuzla Policy Workshop March 2003
      Users and professionals at a Pathways to Policy workshop drawing up plans to improve mental health services in Tuzla, BiH

      Fe nix, a Hamlet Network Member Organisation, made some truly startling discoveries: 47% of the sample of 319 people questioned receive such poor monthly social benefits that they do not even cover food expenditure. Discrimination and its concomitant lack of opportunities are partly responsible for the fact that only 4% of respondents to the Fenix questionnaire have full-time work. A shocking 87% have very little social life and rarely go out, with 63% unhappy with the support they get from the local health services.

      With the evidence collected, steps are already being taken to address the problems. Another grant from Hamlet is helping to develop a network of self-help groups throughout Tuzla canton and thus tackle these issues of isolation. Local municipalities have been persuaded to provide the new groups with free accommodation. Furthermore, Hamlet Trust’s Local Policy Co-ordinator in BiH, Halida Vejzagic, has been instrumental in creating a strong, open Local Policy Forum in Tuzla which is raising awareness of these issues and others - especially the rights of users - and beginning the process of changing legislation. Bringing together users of mental health services, representatives of local authorities, the media and professionals, the Bosnian forum is one of 5 throughout the region which make up Hamlet’s Pathways to Policy programme, funded by the Community Fund.

      ©Website designed and built by Tony Swettenham 2002-2004.
      Website updated by Jonathan Bureau: please send enquiries and ammendments to the Hamlet office by email.

      Hamlet Trust, c/o Mental Health Foundation, 9th Floor, Sea Containers House, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9QB
      Tel +44 (0) 20 7803 1160; Fax +44 (0) 20 7803 1111

      Registered Charity Number: 800660, Registered Company Number: 2329655, Limited by guarantee