Peter Campbell

Peter Campbell

Areas of Interest

Campaigner, Literature

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Education, 2010

Biography

Peter Campbell is a survivor of the mental health system and, as a writer and poet. He has devoted his life and incredible talents to the pursuit of survivors' rights and justice.

Described as shy, self-effacing and highly intelligent, Peter Campbell has spent 25 years battling with the government and the mental health system for survivors' rights. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, Peter's late teenage years were spent confronting mental distress. Long stays in hospital and asylums, which curtailed his academic career at Cambridge, also prevented him from maintaining continuous paid employment. It was in 1983 that he changed his life and began an involvement with mental health activism coupled with poetry and performance which has lasted until the present day.

Peter was a member of Camden Mental Health Consortium in the 1980s, one of the early local survivor action groups. In 1986 he was a founder member of Survivors Speak Out, a national networking group and played a prominent part in the organisation over the next ten years. In 1991, he and three other survivor poets set up Survivors' Poetry, providing workshops and performances by and for survivors. It is still a flourishing group.

Peter has always believed that involvement in collective actions of this kind with other survivors enabled him to turn his life around. By the 1990s he was able to construct a professional life as a freelance writer, consultant and trainer. He is a gifted poet and performer, writes extensively on mental health issues, and trains psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and other health professionals with a view to shaping better quality services for the future.

He is honoured for his sheer strength of character and outstanding talent as a writer, performer and educationalist.



Citation

"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Peter Campbell for the award of Honorary Doctor of Education.

Peter Campbell is a survivor of the mental health system and as a writer and poet he has devoted his life and incredible talents to the pursuit of survivors' rights and justice.

In 2006, Melvyn Bragg presented Peter with the MIND Diamond Champion Award for the person who had done most for users of mental health services in England and Wales in the last 60 years.

Described as shy, self-effacing and highly intelligent, Peter Campbell has spent 25 years battling with the government and the mental health system for survivors' rights. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, Peter's late teenage years were spent confronting mental distress. Long stays in hospital and asylums, which curtailed his academic career at Cambridge, also prevented him from maintaining continuous paid employment. It was in 1983 that he changed his life and began an involvement with mental health activism coupled with poetry and performance which has lasted until the present day.

'There is a pleasure madmen know' is the opening line of the first poem in Peter's poetry collection entitled Brown Linoleum Green Lawns, a review of asylum life and care in the community observations.

Peter was a member of Camden Mental Health Consortium in the 1980s, one of the early local survivor action groups. In 1986 he was a founder member of Survivors Speak Out, a national networking group and played a prominent part in the organisation over the next ten years. In 1991, he and three other survivor poets set up Survivors' Poetry, providing workshops and performances by and for survivors. It is still a flourishing group. Peter has always believed that involvement in collective actions of this kind with other survivors enabled him to turn his life around.

By the 1990s he was able to construct a professional life as a freelance writer, consultant and trainer. He is a gifted poet and performer, writes extensively on mental health issues, and trains psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and other health professionals.

Until 2000 Peter never considered himself a disabled person because he does not consider a mental health problem to be an impairment. However in 1999 Peter experienced a sudden, major hearing loss and has become progressively deaf. He now uses hearing aids, lip reading, induction loops and note takers to continue with his award-winning work.

Peter strives to help people to change their lives for the better. He believes that educating psychiatrists and clinical psychologists offers survivors a great opportunity for long term beneficial change.

His greatest hope is that the general public gets to hear about and appreciate the achievements of collective action by service users and survivors as it is only through this action that people can get involved in service changes with a view to shaping better quality services for the future.

Peter's sheer strength of character and outstanding talent as a writer, performer and educationalist sets a standard for others to follow. He is someone who is greatly admired nationally, regionally and by the healthcare professionals at the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Peter Campbell for the award of Doctor of Education, honoris causa."