Why we're vital Why we are Vital ‘Because people are humans not just a diagnosis’ This really does sum up why we exist and why we are vital to people in the future. We were set up in 1989 by people who were treated at Lynfield Mount Hospital, as they realised there was no one on their side, all they were seen as was a mental health diagnosis. This is at the heart of everything we do. People need to be heard and treated holistically, rather than just for their ‘diagnosed’ issue. Formerly Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group (BAMHAG), we wanted to rebrand and update our image to reflect our needs and values moving forward, which is why we are now called VITAL which stands for Value, Involve, Talk, Advocate & Link. We recognise that mental health is not black and white and that everybody brings their own colour to the bigger picture. Support given by 'Experts by Experience' We know that mental and physical health are inextricably linked, yet time and time again, people tell us that their physical health is ignored because of their mental health diagnosis. We know that people with mental health issues tend to have a shorter life, and this is often due to their physical health being ignored. We know that people feel like they have no choices in the way they are treated, that they are done to rather than involved in their care. We know that there are people unable to get support because their mental health isn’t judged to be ‘severe enough’. We know that people are not given hope and aspirations for their future, due to their mental health condition. We know that everyone has mental health, not just the 1 in 4 statistic that we hear about so often. We know that there is still stigma and discrimination attached to mental health throughout the whole of society. We are VITAL because many of us have been in these places, have been treated as a diagnosis, been ignored, not had a say in our care, and given no hope for our future. We are here to make sure that EVERYONE has a voice.