Circle 333 was created in March 2020 by Peter Smith in response to realising the need for a mental health service that provides support from a different paradigm to the current one. He has over 29 years of experience in the mental health service as a service user and senior health care professional. He first experienced severe mental ill-health at the age of 20.
Peter has been medication-free since 2003 but knows that medication has its place in that it can be used to scaffold someone so that they are then able to use other, more holistic and relational therapeutic resources. Peter regards mental illness as a normal reaction to physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual harm. He has a clear understanding of how the experience of mental ill-health impacts individuals and those who care for them. He is passionate about supporting individuals who experience mental ill-health as he knows that those who suffer from mental health issues, with the right support, can recover and lead healthy and rewarding lives.
Peter currently works as a Senior Occupational Therapist within an acute mental health setting as the Inpatient Lead Occupational Therapist (OT). This is on the same ward where he was admitted when he had his first mental health crisis. Now, he is involved at a senior level in supporting patients and providing Occupational Therapy to in-patients in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and service users in the community. This commonality involves advocating on behalf of patients so that they receive a holistic care plan and not one focused on reliance on medication.
Peter also provides Mental Health training to different organisations who work with service users and for their employees around mental health first aid. This has included the Metropolitan Police force, specifically around skilling them up on how to use their Section 136 powers which sensitively can impact on individuals experience of the police. When the person is well, the interaction, they had can have a lasting impact on them, both positive and negative.
Peter also works as a Crisis intervention practitioner, working at Hackney’s Crisis Café, which remit is to support people in acute emotional and psychological distress. Crisis intervention is known to reduce the need for people to visit Accident & Emergency services, allowing immediate assistance to those in crisis and often mitigating the need for an in-patient admission. Peter was involved in the setting up of the first pilot of this service.
Peter is aware of how sports impacts not only physical, but an individual’s mental health and that there is a need for accessible body orientated practices. He is qualified as a FA level two football coach in 2008 and jointly set up the first mental health football league (The Positive Mental Attitude Football League) in England which operated in London, Surrey and Yorkshire from 2008.