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Jo Strong is an independent member of the West Midlands Mental Health Commission.

Which part of the region do you live in and/or work in?

I’m involved in various projects across the Black Country.

Which organisation/sector/network are you representing on the MH Commission?

I am an Independent Member of the MH Commission primarily as a service user but also with a special interest in the mental health of disabled children and adults as well as looked-after children and care leavers. I am also part of the Include Me Citizens Panel for the WMCA.

How does your role relate to the mental health agenda?

If mental health services are to reflect the needs of the population, then those who have experienced these services must have an active participation through co-production so that their voices have a role in shaping the future of mental health care. Many children and young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic especially those with special educational needs. As the parent of a child with SEN, I believe I bring important first-hand experience of the navigating the mental health system.

What are your particular areas of passion and interest, which you aim to champion through the work of the Commission?

I wish to promote the voices and experiences of those whom research has shown to be most impacted by mental health issues.  

What particular knowledge, skills & experience are you particularly seeking to ‘bring to the table’ to help to progress the work of the Commission?

I am bringing my personal experience of the mental health system both as a young person and an adult as well as being the parent of a child with additional needs.