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Louise Bown is an independent member of the West Midlands Mental Health Commission.

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

Work and live in Birmingham.

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

I am an independent member of the commission. I’m not representing any particular organisation or sector - just myself if that counts!

How does your role relate to the mental health agenda?

As an independent member, I hope to speak up about the realities of poor mental health and provide a different perspective on topics and discussions.

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

I’m passionate about equity and inclusion, of which mental health forms a key focus for me.

Through the Commission, I really want to champion mental health across all areas and emphasise intersectionality. We all have mental health. Poor mental health cuts across all characteristics, whilst it doesn’t discriminate, there are certain groups and demographics that are more vulnerable to mental illness compared to others, this is something we can’t ignore. 

One of my biggest aims overall is to work towards breaking down the stigma surrounding poor mental health, within a societal sense but also across different sectors. In order to do that we need to have honest and potentially uncomfortable conversations but I’ve no doubt that all Commission members are on the same page when it comes to improving mental health outcomes for the region. 

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

I feel I can contribute the most through my lived experience, both of mental illness and also how I’ve navigated the complex mental health system – being candid in how it has been for me as well as contributing ways I feel it can be improved. I genuinely believe that there is strength in sharing our own stories and it is through doing so that we can really influence change. 

My professional background has ranged from working with disabled people and children, young adults from deprived areas and those not in secure housing. This work has influenced my view of the world and I want to make sure that the issues I’ve been made aware of through working with others are also highlighted.

An image of a woman with the WMCA logo to it