Suffolk User Forum

Suffolk User Forum

At a glance


  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Human rights
  • Local / community
  • Mental health
  • Social care

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Suffolk User Forum, also referred to as SUF, is the voice for mental health service users in the East and West of Suffolk. We are a user led charity and everyone in SUF has lived experience of mental health as either a service user or family carer.


SUF delivers engagement, peer support, signposting support for access into services and inpatient independent mental health advocacy, working to give mental health service users a powerful unified voice for their experiences of care and support, promoting individuals’ rights, options and choices for care and support. We are passionate about continuing to improve mental health services in East and West Suffolk.


A key role for our engagement and advocacy service is to gather people’s views of services and then share more widely the anonymized feedback that we have received, including at the highest levels, influencing decision making and ensuring that service users and their families are listened to and that their views help to shape future Mental Health services.


We work with service providers and commissioners to ensure the voice of lived experience is central to improving emotional wellbeing and mental health services in East and West Suffolk. This is achieved through engagement, peer support and advocacy roles, which alongside supporting people, prioritises the gathering and recording of people’s experiences of services. By connecting areas of individual feedback together, we identify key themes and emerging trends in mental health experience. These are reported on quarterly in the SUF publication titled ‘Making our Voice Count’ which is presented to providers, commissioners and to strategic partners, to influence decision making and to promote co-production, so that providers and commissioners can understand and actively respond to the current lived experience of people with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.

We play a key role in ensuring that service users have a voice in all strategies for mental health in Suffolk and we are active members of the following;

  • The Suffolk Mental Health Strategy 2014-19
  • Mental Health Transformation Co-production Partnership, known as #AVeryDifferentConversation
  • The Suffolk Suicide Prevention Strategy for Suffolk called Suffolk Lives Matter
  • Dementia Friendly Towns, Ipswich, Hadleigh, Sudbury & Stowmarket
  • The Suffolk Voluntary and Statutory Partnership
  • The Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Focus Group run by Healthwatch Suffolk
  • The Overview and Scrutiny Board for our secondary mental health care provider Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT)


The charity’s aim and objectives for this financial year include;

  1. Increasing parity of esteem by raising the profile of mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  2. Ensure that the voices of service users and family carers are at the heart of service transformation through the development of the new Suffolk mental health strategy #AveryDifferentConversation and future implementation plans.
  3. Use knowledge and feedback gained from service user and family carer engagement to contribute to improving existing services and shaping the design of future models
  4. Provide a service that gives individual service users and family carers an increased understanding of the local mental health system and where they can access help and support.
  5. Facilitate opportunities for mental health service users and family carers to meaningfully come together; promoting communities, reducing isolation and lowering impact on statutory services.
  6. Continue to actively contribute to the development of the suicide prevention plan in Suffolk drawing from the insights and feedback from service users and family carers.
  7. To promote statutory and human rights, choices and options for care and treatment through delivering independent mental health advocacy to people in acute mental health care settings and forensic services as an active partner in Total Voice Suffolk Advocacy Services.


SUF’s mission is to be an inclusive and trusted mental health user-led network that values, promotes and strengthens the user voice for positive change, independence, human rights, choice and control.

SUF’s vision is to become the leading organisation in Suffolk championing equal and valued partnerships between mental health service users, commissioners and providers, combining mutual strengths and experience to improve services, achieving emotional wellbeing and mental health for all.

SUF’s values were co-produced at the SUF AGM in 2018

1. We are open, honest, and trustworthy

2. We are inclusive and have people at our heart

3. We are caring & compassionate.

4. We speak out together to make a difference

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