Portland Hearing Voices is back – and they’ve got a new group

By Jenny Westberg, Portland Mental Health Examiner, March 10, 2014

PHV Heads 376x305 Flier_0003After a long hiatus that temporarily shelved their popular, twice-weekly support groups, Portland Hearing Voices Director Kate Hill announced yesterday that a new group is gearing up for action and scheduled to go live on Friday, April 4.

The new group will take place at Outside In, a social service agency in downtown Portland that works to address the needs of homeless youth and other marginalized people. Outside In is also co-sponsoring the new group along with PHV.

The Voices, Visions and Extreme States group will meet Friday, April 4, from 6-7:30 PM at Outside In, 1132 SW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR. Thereafter it will meet every Friday.

The group is free of charge and open to any person who has experienced voices, visions, or extreme states of consciousness or perception. Only people with lived experience may attend. Family members, health care professionals, journalists and others may not attend, unless they have lived experience themselves.

“We’re so excited to get these groups up and running again,” said Hill. ”I am very grateful for all of the support that we’ve received from local organizations and agencies, and so happy that we now have a way to sustain ourselves!”

The groups are vitally needed, said PHV Founder and Assistant Director Will Hall.

“These non-judgmental support groups are a vital alternative that have helped hundreds of people reconnect with the community,” Hall said.

“The alliances we have built with service providers, such as Outside In and Mental Health America of Oregon, mean we are growing from our grassroots and volunteer beginnings, while keeping true to our unique vision and values,” he said.

The Voices, Visions and Extreme States group will be part of the U.S. arm of an international network of Hearing Voices groups.

Hearing Voices Network USA (HVN-USA) is one of more than 20 national networks of Hearing Voices groups all over the world, with each network comprising many individual groups. In the U.K. alone, there are now more than 180 Hearing Voices groups. INTERVOICE, the International Network for Training, Education and Research into Hearing Voices. is the international network.

Hearing Voices networks don’t just provide support groups, they offer a new way of thinking about voice-hearing, one that doesn’t see it as a sign of sickness or abnormality. Many voice-hearers find that Hearing Voices groups give them the tools and support they need to cope with voice-hearing and re-engage with their lives.

Back when PHV support groups went on hiatus, organizers had no certainty they would return. But PHV’s new director, Kate Hill, was determined. She sent countless emails, made call after call, and pounded the pavement, following up on leads, building alliances, and never giving up, until she could honestly say, “Portland Hearing Voices has returned.”

Will Hall, the assistant director and founder of PHV, praises her hard work, done well — which got results.

“Congratulations to our new director, Kate Hill, for this successful organizing!” said Hall.


Voices, Visions and Extreme States
Fridays, starting April 4, 2014
6-7:30 PM
Outside In, 1132 SW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR