An intrepid crew of service users recovering from psychosis have embarked on the voyage of a lifetime up the west coast of the UK.
The four service users and two members of staff from Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC) set sail from Holyhead (north west Wales) today - (Sunday 14 May) and are due to arrive in Whitehaven (Cumbria) on Friday 19 May.
The aim of the trip is to help the service users continue their own voyages of recovery. They have all suffered from psychosis, a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. All have had help in their ongoing recovery from SHSC's Early Intervention Team.
During the voyage the service users are taking control of the ship, called Faramir, despite having no previous sailing experience.
They are learning sea-faring techniques on board the vessel to help them navigate the high-seas around the UK coastline.
SHSC has funded the places for the users via its charitable resources. The two members of staff on-board are helping in the practical running of the ship and are also on hand to provide emotional support for the service users, helping them get the most out of the trip.
The trip is being run by the not-for-profit organisation the Cirdan Trust.
SHSC's Early Intervention Service Manager, Paul Reeves, said:
“This is about the service users challenging themselves in a positive way – to prove to themselves what they can do. Something like this will hopefully break down taboos and show people that they can make a positive difference.
“Each service user is playing their own part in helping to navigate a large boat around the coast and learn new levels of independence. It should also help to improve their self-esteem and confidence.”
The entire voyage will circumnavigate the entire UK coastline with different organisations taking different legs.