Peter Relton Peter came to VITAL all the way back in the 1990s when he wanted to put something back, to help other people rather than just be a passive recipient of mental health services, and got involved as a volunteer advocate with VITAL’s previous incarnation as BAMHAG. This experience led to a job in the NHS, promoting a service user perspective within a radical mental health team that wanted to work in innovative, non-oppressive ways. He then joined the management committee, and remains a Trustee. He believes it is important for there to be an independent organisation that supports people who are disempowered to speak up for themselves, and works to individual service users/patients agendas rather than a narrow definition of what professionals think we need. He has been involved with BAMHAG for over 25 years, and doesn’t feel he can stop supporting it in its new incarnation now. Peter feels he has been around long enough to see how health services/social care goes in cycles. Radical ideas (including the radical team that originally employed him) get squashed; the tired old status quo which in mental health medicalises our experience of distress, and too often gives us inappropriate treatment against our will, holds sway. He feels we are currently at a low point in terms of patient involvement (locally and nationally), where there isn't the interest within health and social care services to listen to what patients and carers think (of course lip-service is paid to this, as ever). His experience suggests that the tide will turn at some point, patient-based ideas will come to the fore again, and services will improve. He hopes and believes that VITAL will play a key part in moving things forward. Interestingly, on of Peter’s favourite TV shows is actually the cartoon Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, currently shown on Channel 5 early mornings. He thinks it's one of the best TV programmes ever, expressing profound truths about the nature of life, as well as being laugh-out-loud funny!