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CHRIS BARCHARD – LEAVING STATEMENT


It is with great reluctance that I have been forced to give up chairing National Perceptions Forum after many years. Having first joined in the early 1990s I have had two periods as Chair, totalling about 9 years. The last period was over 6 years continuously. During this time I have seen Perceptions Forum grow into its present form from a network of local groups and a national meeting to having an excellent magazine, a large website www.perceptionsforum.org.uk, conferences, a poetry competition and more recently a DVD about the history and development of Perceptions Forum, which I very much enjoyed filming and editing. This DVD is available from the office for 3.00 inc postage and packing. None of this would have been possible without the active support of our members, who I would like to thank for producing such a steady stream of high quality articles, poems, cartoons, artwork and even recorded music. Some examples of this last are downloadable from the website.

Amongst the things I have done is make a study of the drugs many of us are compelled to take, particularly antipsychotics. I have written about these on a number of occasions and I have very mixed feelings about them due to their dangerous side-effects. I have never been as aware of these as I am now since I am now likely to die prematurely from serious illnesses which in all likelihood are strongly associated with taking these drugs over many years. I am continuing to take them now because I really do not want an episode of psychosis which puts me in a mental hospital again. The stress of this would make me much more ill and most of the damage the drugs may have caused frankly will have been done by now. I have tried to stop taking them a number of times over the years and it has always resulted in an admission. Although this may sound grim I am not in the least downhearted and enjoying life more if anything than I was before. But I am having to take it easier and avoid undue stress. Chairing Perceptions Forum was a rewarding but taxing position. I wish my successor Keith Hall every success and hope that Perceptions will continue to be a vibrant organisation and be the principal forum for those who have the misfortune, as I do, to have been labelled with some form of severe mental illness.

I shall continue to be involved with Perceptions Forum in what ways I feel able and will miss seeing all the people I have got to know at meetings.