Voice Collective is a UK-wide, London-based project set up to support children and young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual sensory experiences. We work in partnership with young people and youth organisations to improve the quality of information, advice and support available out there. Our work is funded by BBC Children in Need and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, amongst others.
If you would like to speak to someone from Voice Collective, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7911 0822. We’re not able to offer crisis support, so if you need to speak with someone urgently please call Childline (0800 1111) or NHS 111. For more ideas, see our Getting Help Quickly page.
What do we offer?
There are two strands to our service – work with children, young people & families, and work with professionals and organisations.
Our Menu: An Overview of Voice Collective’s Services
Work with children, young people & families
Children & Young People
- Voice Collective peer support groups
- Creative Arts Workshops
- Information, signposting & support
- Training and workshops
Parents, families and carers
- Information, signposting & support (by email, phone or face to face)
- Training and workshops
- Work with professionals and organisations
- Guidance and support developing information resources, policies and practice to include and support young people who hear voices
We work with: CAMHS, Early Intervention in Psychosis, Schools, Social Services, Voluntary Sector Organisations & Charities, Arts Groups and many more.
Why is it needed?
“Without the group I would be isolated. I used to think I was the only person this is happening to, that I was freakish or wrong. It helped me realise that there are other people. It normalised it and made it less inhuman” – 16 year old
Around 8% of young people hear, see or sense things other people don’t. Still, movies and news reports can make it all sound much more weird and scary than it really is. The fear of being judged or labelled can be really hard to deal with, at school and at home. Because of this, meeting people who understand what you’re doing through and listen with respect is very important.
During our pilot project, we found that children and young people often felt isolated, ‘crazy’ and overwhelmed – but struggled to access supportive services. Our peer support group, facilitated by someone with personal experience of living with voices, gave these young people a safe space to be accepted for who they are.
“My daughter has been attending lots of places since the age of eight and nothing has helped, until she meet the people involved at Voice Collective. This has had a remarkable effect on her wellbeing and confidence, she no longer feel isolated. The people that run the project are real role models to these young people. She is now able to open up to me and some of her closest friends. We, in turn, can help her through these difficult times, which just was not possible before” – Parent
Through working with a range of youth services, we found that relatively little support from us (in the form of training, coaching or awareness raising) can produce dramatic results. We specialise in breaking down the stigma and anxiety surrounding voice-hearing, helping workers use their existing skills to support young people.
“I work with young people from unsafe family backgrounds. I now feel more confident to work with young people who hear voices, to try and open a dialogue and help them feel less isolated and more understood”
With CAMHS teams and agencies already working with young people who hear voices, we found that offering training led by someone with personal and professional experience, is key. Feedback from trainees is that this has helped them develop greater understanding of the experience and increase the range of tools they have to work creatively with young people.
“Everyone really enjoyed the presentation which was so well thought out, so professional, very impressive and fascinating. Your personal contribution really enriched the content and was very generous of you, and humbling for us. Thank you”. – Wendy, CAMHS
“I’m amazed with the way the trainer users her experience to help people make sense of ‘hearing voices’. I don’t think it would have the same impact if delivered by someone who had not gone on her journey to where she is today. 100% brill”