My name is Nigel Haydon and I am 64 years of age. As a consequence of my father serving with the Royal Navy throughout World War 2 and beyond, I was born in the naval port of Poole, Dorset in 1946. I went home to Scotland at 6 weeks old.
My wife and I have been caring for our son, who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, for over 12 years now. We are two of the founder members of a small dual diagnosis support group (a very rare “species” in the West Midlands where I now live) that was established about 10 years ago.
Until I was 28, I lived in Hurlford, a village that lies 2 miles south east of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, Scotland. I was educated firstly at the village primary school and then at Kilmarnock Academy. I joined the Inland Revenue in April 1966. My first posting was to the tax office in Ayr. After several other postings in Scotland, I was transferred to Stourbridge in the West Midlands. I still live in Stourbridge where I met my wife and where our three children, a son followed by two daughters, were born.
I retired from the Inland Revenue at the end of 2005. I became a member of Dudley Carers in Partnership for Mental Health (DCiP/MH), in January 2006 and a few months later joined Carers in Partnership (CiP), the regional “parent” organisation. Later that year I was elected carer representative on the national management board of the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE). I remained on the board until NIMHE was terminated in March 2009.
Through my membership of a sub-group of CiP – Helping Professionals Learn from Carers (HPLC) – I became involved with teaching/participation in West Midland Universities. I passionately believe that the active involvement of service users and carers in the education of health/social care professionals is essential if we are to achieve the considerable improvements necessary to reach a level of treatment that service users of all varieties deserve, and are entitled to expect.
I have been a member of SWEP Advisory Group for a number of years and was part of the governance group that helped to set SWEP up as a charity.