The project

The project was established in 2010 with the aim of creating a network of Hearing Voices groups in forensic and detention settings across London. This network, the first of its kind in the world, includes groups from prisons and medium and low secure units within Greater London, as well as a growing number based in the Home Counties, the Midlands, the North-West and North-East. In 2016 we expanded our scope and started to work with Immigration Removal Centres.

Hearing things, seeing things and sensing things that others don’t is a common experience in forensic and detention settings. These experiences can be bewildering, frightening, comforting, or pleasant, depending on the individual and the relationship that they have with their voices. Factors such as previous trauma, loss of liberty and uncertainty about the future can also cause distress and exacerbate voices. Difficulty coping with voices, visions or beliefs can lead people to neglect or injure themselves, and is associated with 1 in 5 self-inflicted deaths in custody.

We train, support and mentor staff so they are better able to support people who hear voices, both 1-2-1 and in group settings.

If you want to find out more about training, please contact us or visit the training page.

What do we offer?

Voices Unlocked provides a range of training courses for prisons, secure unit and Immigration Removal centre staff who’d like to set up a Hearing Voices group.

We work alongside staff to plan, launch and sustain their groups, and we provide on-going support, advice and problem-solving. We also offer a range of awareness-raising courses and workshops open to all staff working in prisons and secure units. Recent courses we have run include Taboo and Violent Voices, and Introduction to Paranoia and Beliefs, and Supporting People who Self-Harm.

We are particularly interested in training service users or ex-service users with lived experience of voices, visions or unusual beliefs where possible.

Who funds us?

Our work is currently funded by The Bromley Trust, the City Bridges Trust, the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the Tudor Trust.