Anthony Kenyon works as a Specialist by Experience at the Trust. Based in Blackburn in the Community Mental Health Team he works across the Trust’s services. Anthony recently celebrated a huge milestone, 10 years since he was discharged from our inpatient services.

Anthony said:

“It really is an enormous milestone for me, I am now proud to use my lived experience of mental health issues and Asperger’s to work for LSCft.

I really love working for the Trust helping to advise and guide teams and services. The support I get really makes me feel like a valued employee which reminds me I have come a really long way on my recovery journey.”

Anthony’s is a story of hope, from service user to award winning NHS worker.

“I’ve been under the care of mental health teams since I was 10-years-old, and when my uncle passed away when I was 13, I started to hallucinate and hear voices so was put on antipsychotic medication. Since then I’ve been on various different psychotropic medications and numerous benzodiazepines.

I was really unwell, in total I spent more than eight years from the age of 13 to 24 in and out of hospital settings in different mental health units in the North West and West Midlands. I was detained under the care of the Mental Health Act 11 times.”

Anthony was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and Schizoaffective Disorder. He’s been under the care of mental health services for more than 25 years.

But, after spending time in our secure unit, Guild Lodge, he was discharged into our community mental health service ten years ago. Since then Anthony’s recovery journey has seen him flourish.

He now lives independently in a rented apartment in his home town of Burnley and works full time, three days with the Trust and also as a personal care assistant.

As part of his work with the Trust Anthony works on their Service User and Carer Council, ensuring the voices of service users and families are heard and are able to positively influence our mental health services and the support on offer to our communities.

He also was part of an award winning team at the Trust providing roving mental health clinics for hard to reach communities including the homeless.

Anthony explained:

“I worked with the clinical project manager on the roving clinics which are aimed at people that struggle to access mainstream mental health services. I advise which communities would potentially benefit and liaise with partnership organisations arranging and attending meetings to see whether we could support them. I sometimes attend the drop in clinics because my presence can help break down barriers and help put our patients at ease.”

Anthony added:

“I know I’ve come such a long way in the last 10 years, but I hope my personal journey and improvement can inspire people suffering with their mental health.

With the right help and care people with mental health problems can recover and live a fulfilling life.

My next goal is to be completely discharged from community mental health, it’s something I’m working towards.

Everyone's journey is different and everyone's needs are different, but this Mental Health Week, I want people to know if you’re struggling, please speak up, help is out there and you can turn your life around. If I can – anyone can.”

Anthony is not wrong. If you are struggling with your mental health or are worried about someone in mental health crisis, 24 hour support is always available in Lancashire and South Cumbria. You can call LSCft’s Crisis Line all hours on 0800 953 0110.

It is staffed by trained mental health professionals who are able to provide assessment and referrals to appropriate services. A text support service is also available, all you have to do is text HELLO to 07860 022 846.