My name is Brendan Stone, and I’ve lived with mental health difficulties since about the age of 14.
For around 20 years I was usually too unwell to work, and spent time in hospitals, and also had periods of time when I was homeless. At the age of 35 I took an access course for adults without qualifications who were interested in trying education again. I got on well, and followed this up with a degree in English and then a PhD. Since 2004 I’ve worked as an academic at the University of Sheffield, and was promoted to Professor in 2013.
My interests in mental health centre on two themes: firstly to work for equity and justice for people with mental health difficulties, especially in the areas of benefits, money, education, and work. Secondly, I want to open up opportunities for people to develop their talents, pursue their interests, and to form meaningful connections with others. I’m also particularly interested in the place of narrative (I run the Storying Sheffield project at the University) for gaining insight into complex human issues, including mental health. Above all, we need to actively elicit, listen to, and act on the insights and knowledge of those who live with mental health problems.