SUST is a Sheffield based network of trainers and consultants with lived experience of mental health issues. We were formed in 2007 and all of the people involved in the group have lived experience of the issues we work on. Membership is open to anyone with mental health support needs and we make decisions through group meetings and online networking.
SUST was set up to provide opportunities for people with lived experience to develop their skills in training, group facilitation and involvement and engagement. We support the development of user run initiatives that maximise the chances of people receiving effective support that is tailored to individual needs. We equip people with the skills and knowledge that enable them to take action to overcome or self-manage their problems and conditions. We also seek to bring about change in the mental health system to ensure that it takes proper account of the needs and wishes of people with lived experience.
Our main activities include supporting people to develop as trainers through the provision of training the trainers courses tailored to the needs of service users and carers; the provision of mental health and related training to people with lived experience, carers and workers from voluntary and statutory sector services and organisations; supporting the development of mental health self-help and peer support groups through providing advice to groups and support to group facilitators and members; providing opportunities for people with lived experience of mental health problems to engage in creative activities; and supporting people to become meaningfully involved in engagement and involvement activities sponsored by other organisations.
SUST is about widening the field of support available to people with lived experience, based on the conviction that they know what is best for them. We’re grounded in the radical principles of the user and survivor movement, which saw the development of tools and resources by mental health service users for mental health service users, with the aim of supporting people with lived experience to live the lives they want and receive the support that will best meet their needs.
SUST models good practice by ensuring that all decisions that affect the way we operate and the activities we undertake are made by people with lived experience, and we ensure that our engagement with other organisations results in real and measurable benefits for the people who are involved and other service users and carers.