• Welcome to Voices Vic
  • About Us
  • What We Do
  • Hearing Voices Groups
  • Resources
  • Training and workshops
  • Peer Support - One-on-One Peer Support
  • Our Stories - Voices Unplugged
  • So... What are the Facts
  • Contact Us
  • The Melbourne Hearing Voices Declaration

Welcome to Voices Vic

Welcome to Voices Vic – a proud initiative of Uniting Prahran.

Voices Vic is a state-wide award winning and research supported specialist program led by people with a lived experience, which seeks to improve the lives of people who hear voices.

We do this by offering…

  • One-on-One Peer Support with a team member with lived-experience from someone who ‘gets it’
  • ‘Voices Vic Training Calendar 2019’
  • Delivering training (On site or In-House)
  • Hosting events
  • Increasing awareness and providing resources for voice-hearers and the wider community.

Our team is testament to the empowerment that can be gained by learning how to work and live with hearing voices, with most members having traversed their own healing journey.


What is ‘Hearing Voices’?

It is hard to think of an experience that is more misunderstood or stigmatised than hearing voices…

A person who is ‘a voice hearer’ is defined by the Hearing Voices Network as someone who undergoes hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and/or feeling something that others around them do not

The voice hearing experiences are generally perceived as very real to the hearer and can be distressing and even traumatising to the individual, especially when they are negative (Daya, Karagounis, Pearce, & Thomas, 2014). However, when the person begins to understand their triggers and can associate meaning to the voices, empowerment and healing can take place where social relationships and stable employment can once again be an option (Corstens, Escher, & Romme, 2009).

Hearing voices, or auditory hallucinations, are generally diagnosed as a symptom of psychosis or dissociation presented in a range of psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, depression, and disorders including bipolar affective, schizoaffective, borderline personality, post-traumatic stress and other dissociative states of consciousness (Chaudhury, 2010).

The current outcome related research displays how effective the hearing voices approach is for voice-hearers, as well as people undergoing these experiences living lives of meaning and value to themselves, as well as society in general.

Do you, or someone you know relate with these experiences? If so, please sign up to our mailing list for helpful tips, events, training and more.


What is the Hearing Voices Approach?

The core of The Hearing Voices Approach is based on the original research from Professor Marius Romme and Sandra Escher who interviewed 254 voice hearers in the Netherlands and identified a set of key factors which differentiate people who can cope well with hearing voices from people who are distressed (Escher & Romme, 1989).

These included; high self-esteem, a greater sense of self-acceptance, an ability to set boundaries with the voices, listening selectively to voices, communicating more often with voices, having an explanatory framework for the voices, having more social and supportive connections and being more likely to discuss their voices with others- these are still the key aims of personal empowerment Hearing Voices Groups focus on.

The Hearing Voices Approach is not about trying to get rid of your voices. It’s about changing the relationship you have with them. Dealing with fear, anger and shame. Getting support where you need it. Learning to get control.


Interested in joining Voices Vic?

Contact us  to join the Hearing Voices Network or to talk about starting a Hearing Voices Group in your area.


Interested in volunteering for Voices Vic?

There are opportunities for voice hearers to volunteer with us on volunteer placement. You will build skills and confidence for future work, while doing things such as office administration, group co-facilitation, or delivering talks and training. We offer mentoring, training and a chance to make a difference.

Call the Voices Vic Team for more details.

Telephone: 03 9692 9500



Corstens, Dirk & Escher, Sandra & Romme, Marius. (2009). Accepting and Working with Voices: The Maastricht Approach. Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology. 319 – 332. 10.1002/9780470699652.ch23.

Chaudhury, S. (2010). Hallucinations: Clinical aspects and management. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 19(1), 5–12. http://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.77625

Daya, I., Karagounis, J., Pearce, L.D., & Thomas, N. (2014). Integrating peer work with a specific therapeutic target: experiences from the voice exchange program. Received from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265216286_Integrating_peer_work_with_a_specific_therapeutic_target_Experiences_from_the_Voice_Exchange_program

Romme MAJ, Escher A (1989). Hearing voices. Schizophrenia Bulletin 15, 209–216.

About Us

Voices Vic is an award winning and research supported network of professionals, carers and voice hearers that work together to reduce the distress which can be associated with hearing voices.

Voices Vic was established by Uniting Prahran (formally known as Prahran Mission) in 2009, after successfully running Hearing Voices groups since 2005.

We work in partnership with other Hearing Voices Networks – both in Australia and overseas.

Uniting Prahran is proud to be supporting other organisations across Victoria, creating new opportunities for collaboration and recovery.

Voices Vic is also a multi-award winning international team. Our most recent accomplishments include:

  • Our Group Coordinator won the 2018 VMIAC Lifetime Achievement Award, for her almost 10 years with Voices Vic being a power of example of a lived experience worker to everyone she meets. Our group coordinator also won the Intervoice Inspirational Person Award 2017 for Outstanding contribution and growth of the hearing voices movement.
  • In 2019, our Central Trainer received a Commendation for the 2018 VMIAC Ally of the Year Award, for her almost 8 years working with the Hearing Voices Approach, working with consumers and supporting peer led initiatives.
  • Voices Vic won a TheMHS Achievement Award (Consumer Provided category) from the Mental Health Learning Network in 2012.
  • Voices Vic was Highly Commended in the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards (Responding to mental health & drug and alcohol service needs category) in 2010.
  • The Hearing Voices Approach” 2-day Training Endorsed in 2017 and 2018 by both the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Keep updated by liking our Facebook page.


Our Charter

Our vision is for the community at large to listen to the experience of voice hearers with acceptance, compassion and care.

We believe recovery is not necessarily the absence of voices, but the ability to have a meaningful life.

We believe recovery is possible for everyone.


What We Do

Peer Support

We offer a range of peer-support services such as one-on-one and community groups with trained professionals who have experienced, or still experience hearing voices themselves.

Research on Peer Support groups within the Hearing Voices Network has proven outstanding results including in 2016, Australian Hearing Voices Network Peer Support Outcome Research from New South Wales showcased the following results (Beavan, Jager & Santos, 2016)-


Hearing Voices Groups Attendance Outcomes Improvement
Feeling understood 75%
Less isolation 68%
Self-esteem 68%
Coping strategies 43%
Fewer hospital admissions 61%
Hopefulness about the future 68%
Less emergency assistance 57%
Openness to talk about their voices 75%


If you are interested in being a part of a peer-support group or one-on-one peer support, please leave your details here  or call us on 03 9692 9500 and one of our team members can get in touch with you.

We support and encourage voice hearers to build relationships with their voices, acknowledging them as part of their lives.

We bring voice hearers together to connect and work on their recovery, using Hearing Voices Groups, Training, Volunteering Programs, Community Events, and One-On-One Peer Support.

Hearing Voices Groups are safe spaces where voice hearers can share their story and learn new ways to understand, cope and change the relationship they have with their voices, which is often the point of distress. Our groups can create a powerful sense of hope and possibility. 


We Offer One-on-One Peer Support

Voice Vic offers One-on-One Peer Support- you will work on your voices with a voice hearer who has studied peer work and the hearing voices approach, and have been on their own recovery journey whilst using the Hearing Voices Approach themselves. This is a unique opportunity to explore and better understand voice hearing.

We build skills and understanding to support recovery for voice hearers using learning programs, informational materials, volunteer opportunities and our information at events and on YouTube.

We offer public training courses on various aspects of the Hearing Voices Approach + Peer Support and training in Group Facilitation, customised in-house training at clinics, hospitals and other health services, public speaking, advocacy, and mentoring.

Voices Vic is here to offer support, advice and information, as well as create opportunities for sharing ideas across the network, including:

  • A Calendar of all yearly training throughout the year, including guest International speakers who are renowned within the Hearing Voices Movement
  • Site visits and in-person support
  • Bi-Yearly Training for Group Facilitators of Hearing Voices Groups
  • Newsletters.
  • Facebook Page, for information and events Click Here.
  • Facilitator training, workshops and forums
  • Mentoring and leadership development for voice hearer facilitators.

Voices Vic can visit your organisation to talk about our approach, how groups work, and how to get one started.

Voices Vic will seek to address the following:

  • Raise awareness and increase skills in the Hearing Voices Approach and other provided training.
  • Raise awareness of the unacceptable levels of distress, health and socioeconomic disadvantage faced by many voice hearers and lobby for change.
  • Address the need for ongoing funding of Hearing Voices work across Victoria.

Voices Vic will actively engage across all community, government and mental health arenas.



Reference: Beavan, V., Jager, A,D.,& Santos, B.D. (2016). Do peer-support groups for voice-hearers work? A small scale study of hearing voices network support groups in Australia. Psychosis. Vol. 9, Iss. 1. DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2016.1216583


Hearing Voices Groups


Why Hearing Voices Groups?

Hearing voices can be distressing, stigmatising, and difficult to talk about.

Hearing voices groups provide a welcoming space for voice hearers to share what it’s like to hear voices, learn new coping strategies, and explore ways to make sense of voices and to change the relationship with voices.

Voice hearers attending groups report feeling less alone, are better able to live with their voices, and often say that there is no other space like this available.

Meet people who understand by adding your contact details so we can be in touch before your first visit.


How are Groups Run?

We have found that the most successful hearing voices groups are support focused rather than psycho-education focused. In other words, participants have the chance to share their experience of hearing voices and ideas about living with the voices.

Successful groups help people to feel less alone with their experience, provide the chance to offer mutual support and have a culture of accepting and welcoming difference.


Who Facilitates Them?

Groups can be facilitated by workers, voice hearers or a combination of both. 


Groups in your area

Hearing Voices groups operating in Victoria are listed here.

Where & When Address Contact
Thursday Fortnightly, 1.00pm – 3.00pm
Wendouree Neighbourhood House, 12-14 Violet Grove Kaz
M: 0433 907 914
Tuesdays, 2.30pm – 4.00pm
64 Scott Street
Jaqui Clarke
T: 03 5593 6000
Echoes (Youth Hearing Voices Group)
Thursday: 3.00pm to 4.30pm, Monthly
Bentleigh Headspace
Ground Floor, 973 Nepean Highway, Bentleigh 3204
Starting 12 October 2017
Ashleigh Thornton
M: 0408 601 378 Youth,12-25 age group
Footscray Youth Group – **On Hold Taking Expression of Interest Phoenix Youth Centre72 Buckley Street, FootscrayNote: Run by Cohealth Youth Resi Gayle
T: 03 9448 5504
**On Hold Taking Expression of Interest
Suite 3, Level 1, 405 Nepean Highway,Frankston
Note: Run by Peninsula Health
Peter Gatti
T: 03 9784 6999
Thursday, 2.00pm – 3.00pm**NEW TIME NEW LOCATION** for 2019
Level 2, 211 Chapel Street, Prahran (Williams Room)
Note: Run by Uniting Prahran
Janet Karagounis
T: 03 9692 9528
St Kilda
Wednesday, 12.30pm-1.30pm
FROM 20/06/2017

Engagement Hub
101 Carlisle Street
Note: Run by Uniting Prahran
Janet Karagounis
T: 03 9692 9528

Please contact Janet Karagounis on 03 9692 9528 or email janet.karagounis@vt.uniting.org if you:

  • would like to join a group
  • are interested in starting a new group
  • know of a group that should be listed here.


For information regarding groups in other states or overseas, go to our Resources page.



Printable Brochures

Group Brochure (Printable) 
One on One Peer Support Brochure (Printable) 
General Overview Brochure (Printable)

The Managers and Clinicians Information Pack

If you are a manager of a health service and/or a mental health clinician in contact with voice-hearers, please access our managers and clinicians pack for an overview of our service, history, research/outcomes, and training on offer.

The Managers and Clinicians Pack 

Fact Sheets

Managers and Clinicians Fact Sheet – A Fact sheet designed specifically for practitioners within the medical field with the most recent linked research and references.

Fact Sheet 1 – Sharing Voices Fact Sheet 2 – Profiling Voices Fact Sheet 3 – Dialoguing with Voices Fact Sheet 4 – Changing the Power Balance Fact Sheet 5 – Information for Friends, Family & Carers

Helpful links

Our Facebook Page – Where we share relevant information, updates, events and training.

Intervoice – The International Hearing Voices Network, another excellent resource

Strategies for Coping with Voices – provided by HVNA, this may useful for individuals, and as a tool to review in group settings. A3 size

Working to Recovery UK – has a wide variety of books, CDs, and DVDs concerning recovery


Starting a Hearing Voices Group?

Get an information pack suitable for clinicians and managers who wish to understand the evidence base for the Hearing Voices Approach, read a review of risks, and understand the financial requirements in starting a group. One of our team members can have a discussion with you after providing your contact details here 

We acknowledge Rebecca Ponchard and Dr Neil Thomas for their assistance in developing this pack.


Recovery books, DVDs and CDs

For a full list of the items available, please contact us on 9692 9500. Pocket Guide Order Form – a self-help guide for voice hearers, by voice hearers VV-Pocket guide v2 - mini

Training and workshops

Voices Vic offers training and talks to mental health professionals, carers and voices hearers interested in the Hearing Voices Approach.

Our courses are focussed on this approach, peer support, group facilitation and other learning areas related to hearing voices and recovery.

We welcome the inclusion of mental health professionals, consumers, voice hearers, carers and family members at our training courses. We find that differing experiences results in a much richer learning experience for everyone present. It also allows us to apply our learning during the course, and frequently results in building stronger relationships between participants.

We offer public training courses, as well as customised in-house training to meet the needs of your organisation.

For the opportunity to learn valuable skills click here to receive information about upcoming training. 




What training courses are available?

You can download our ‘Voices Vic Training Calendar 2019’ (July – December) for an overview of our courses.

All our courses are listed for registration under ‘News, Events & Training’, in the Training page.

Voices Vic offers the following training:

-2 Day ‘The Hearing Voices Approach’. This course is the perfect starting place if you are new to the Hearing Voices Approach.

HV Image 1






This training has now been endorsed by the ACMHN. Successful completion of this training earns 11.0 ACMHN continuing professional education (CPE) points.







This training has also been endorsed by the AASW for 14 hours of CPD.

-1 Day ‘Hearing Voices Group Facilitation’. This follow up workshop is great if you want to start and/or (co-)facilitate a Hearing Voices support group.

-1 Day ‘Voice Profiling’, This course is the natural progression from ‘The Hearing Voices Approach’. Voice profiling is a set of accessible tools and strategies that help build greater awareness and understanding of a person’s voices

-2 Day ‘Using Your Story in Peer Work’. In this workshop we look at strategies for sharing our stories in peer work contexts. 



What is the best course for you?

Our courses aim to help voice hearers develop skills to live with their voices. We bring people with different experiences together, and we find this enriches the learning for everyone.

Our courses are:

  • Dynamic and interactive
  • Mostly includes at least one facilitator with lived experience of hearing voices.
  • Based on the latest ideas around hearing voices and recovery
  • Provided in a safe, supportive environment
  • Based on quality adult learning principles
  • Open to workers (community and clinical), consumers, and carers and family – all learning together. 



About our trainers

Voices Vic training is delivered by our own training team, or by leading experts in their field.

Our training team:

  • Receive learning and development, supervision and support from Voices Vic
  • Have demonstrated knowledge and skills in the Hearing Voices Approach
  • Have skills in adult learning and interactive training delivery
  • Understand how to provide training in a safe and respectful learning environment.

Most of our trainers have a lived experience with hearing voices and recovery. 



Customised in-house training

Voices Vic can design a training package to suit your organisation’s needs, which is a very cost effective way to train large numbers of staff within one organisation. We can structure the training to fit around your schedule – either at your premises or an external site. We also provide workbooks and resources.

Topics can include:

  • Overview of the Hearing Voices Approach
  • Understanding the hearing voices experience
  • Using the Hearing Voices Approach in individual work – strategies and philosophy
  • Incorporating the Hearing Voices Approach into your organisation
  • Starting a hearing voices group.



Are all Hearing Voices training courses run by Voices Vic?

No, there are other training providers – individuals and organisations – who provide training in hearing voices. These trainers are not necessarily affiliated with Voices Vic unless we specifically advertise this in our written materials.

Please also note that ‘Voices Inc’ is a different and separate organisation to Voices Vic.

Peer Support - One-on-One Peer Support

What is Peer Support?

Voice Exchange is a peer support program for people who hear voices. We offer sessions of individual peer support with a trained peer worker who also has lived experience of hearing voices. This unique approach aims to provide a safe, respectful and validating environment in which you can:

  • Explore ways to better identify and understand your voices
  • Explore the meaning of what they say
  • Explore reasons why you might be hearing them
  • Explore new ways to cope with hearing voices
  • Explore how to shift the power balance and change your relationship with the voices.



Who are the Peer Workers?

The Voices Vic peer workers are Fiona Nguyen, Ben Hillard and Janet Karagounis.

All have:

  • Lived experience of hearing distressing voices and transforming their voices
  • Been consumers in the mental health system
  • Extensive training in Intentional Peer Support and the Hearing Voices Approach
  • Extensive experience supporting peers in their recovery journeys
  • Regular supervision and support to help them develop their peer worker skills
  • A passionate belief in recovery.


Who is Eligible?

The One-On-One Peer Support program is a service offered by Uniting Prahran. It is open to any Uniting Prahran client who identifies as being a voice hearer, and who is ready to work on their voices.

If you are interested in becoming a client of Uniting Prahran, please contact the Central Intake and Assessment Service at 9692 9500. If you nominate Uniting Prahran as your preferred service provider, you will then be referred to us.

The peer workers in One-on-One Peer Support can help you with the referral process if need be

For more information, go to Our Services.


Are there any costs?

One on One Peer Support is free for Uniting Prahran clients.


Where are the sessions held?

The peer work sessions take place at:

Uniting Prahran (formally known as Prahran Mission) 211 Chapel Street Prahran VIC 3181

For more information, contact Ben Hillard on 9692 9500.

EmailContact us  via the online form



Working with another voice hearer one-on-one meant that the sessions, I felt, were more productive than in a group. Having somebody pointing out the links, similarities and possible sources of my voices that would not have occurred to me on my own; hence the value of this process.

It was also beneficial to share my journey with a person who was able to show links with my voices in diagrammatic and other visual methods, which presented my voices in quite a different way and gave me a new perspective to look (and hear!) from.

Towards the end of the main ‘body’ of the Voice Exchange work we were able to get to the core of where the voices stemmed from. I am gradually taking this understanding into my everyday relationship with my voices and also, in time, will examine these revelations in psychotherapeutic sessions.

—Anonymous participant of Voice Exchange, 2013

I would be delighted to recommend [Voice Exchange] to anyone that has had the hearing voices experience or any other form of mental illness; [they] will lead you on a safe and sure path to mental health and how to realise your full potential and be a useful part of the community of individuals.

—Anonymous participant of Voice Exchange, 2013.


VV-Voice Exchange-painting1200
Painting by Indigo Daya


Our Stories - Voices Unplugged

Voices Unplugged

As voice hearers we face daily stigma and misunderstanding. People assume we are crazy or even dangerous without getting to know us. In reality we are just people who experience the world in different ways. We would like respect, understanding and compassion.

Voices Unplugged is all about hearing what it’s really like to hear voices.


Why Voices Unplugged?

We know that stigma is a hard thing to change. Many voice hearers stigmatise themselves by believing all the awful things that people say about us. And many people in the general community believe the myths just because they don’t know any better.

Voices Vic thinks that sharing real and personal stories is a way to change this stigma.

Personal stories about hearing voices can be told in a variety of ways: mini-films, audio recordings, poetry, art and prose.


Want to share your experience of hearing voices with the world?

Contact us to talk about sharing your story on our site. You can choose to be anonymous or to disclose your name – it’s up to you. Our team is happy to talk to you about what it might mean to publicly disclose your personal experiences.

To hear other voice hearers’ stories, visit our YouTube channel.

So... What are the Facts

Hearing Voices is a Common Human Experience

A 2013 comprehensive review on auditory verbal hallucinations from the University of Wollongong in New South Wales which presents research that hearing voices and other ‘extreme experiences’ are more common an occasion than thought, with 5-28% of the population experiencing auditory hallucinations, of which 25% meet diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder, whilst 75% are normally functioning (Barkus & Leede-Smith 2013).
People who Hear Voices often live lives meaningful to them

When the person begins to understand their triggers and can associate meaning to the voices, empowerment and healing can take place where social relationships and stable employment can once again be an option (Corstens, Escher, & Romme, 2009).
Hearing Voices can be a Positive and Meaningful Life Experience

2015 research on participants of Hearing Voices Groups within the Hearing Voices Network of New South Wales state many voice hearers’ using the approach find that their lives are actually enriched by the experience of voice hearing, and are not distressed by the voice hearing experiences (Beavan & Santos, 2015).
Many Well-known People Throughout History have also been Voice Hearers

Many other well-known figures have also heard voices including philosophers, thinkers, authors, artists, musicians, leaders and rulers, scientists, discoverers, explorers, and spiritual and religious figures.

Philosophers & thinkers: Authors, artists &   musicians: Spiritual & religious figures: Leaders &   rulers:
Emanuel Swedenborg
Sigmund Freud
Carl Gustav Jung
Mahatma Gandhi
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jonathan Swift
Henri Rousseau
Walt Whitman
Edgar Allen Poe
Charles Dickens
Virginia Woolf
Evelyn Waugh
Sylvia Plath
Philip K Dick
St Paul
Joan of Arc
St Augustine
St Teresa of Avila
St Francis
George Fox (Quakers founder)Joseph Smith (Mormons founder)
Alexander the Great
Oliver Cromwell
Sir Winston Churchill
President George Bush
Scientists, Discoverers & Explorers: 
Christopher Columbus
Isaac Newton
John Nash



Beavan, V., & Santos, B.D. (2015). Quantitatively exploring hearing voices network support. The journal of mental health training, education and practice. Vol. 10 Iss 1 pp. 26-38. DOI 10.1108/JMHTEP-07-2014- 0017

De Leede-Smith, S., & Barkus, E. (2013). A comprehensive review of auditory verbal hallucinations: lifetime prevalence, correlates and mechanisms in healthy and clinical individuals. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience7, 367. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00367

Corstens, Dirk & Escher, Sandra & Romme, Marius. (2009). Accepting and Working with Voices: The Maastricht Approach. Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology. 319 – 332. 10.1002/9780470699652.ch23.


Contact Us

Please contact us if you have any queries, feedback or ideas.

By joining our mailing list you will receive helpful tips and coping strategies for dealing with distressing voices, news on upcoming trainings and events, as well as notifications when discounts become available
To join our mailing list, please provide your details here.

Voices Vic is staffed Monday to Friday only, 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Level 3 (Reception)
211 Chapel Street
Prahran  VIC  3181
9692 9500 Training enquiries:
General enquiries:
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The Melbourne Hearing Voices Declaration

The Melbourne Hearing Voices Declaration has been developed by people with lived experience of hearing voices from Australia, UK and Europe, with the aim of building support for the hearing voices approach within the mental health system.

The Declaration was launched at the World Hearing Voices Congress on Thursday 21 November 2013. The Congress was organised and led by consumers, and hosted over 700 delegates from all around the world. Delegates included consumers, carers, health professionals, policy makers and researchers.

The Declaration has been signed by organisations who have embraced the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their support for the consumer leadership movement, and the importance of engaging in a productive way with the experience of hearing voices.

Outlined below are the specific commitments, these organisations have agreed to:

  1. Ensuring it feels safe for people to talk about voices and other unusual experiences.
  2. Working to enable increased hope, control and opportunity for people who hear voices and their families.
  3. Listening to the experience of voice hearers.
  4. Working with, rather than against, voices.
  5. Asking about and supporting people to address past trauma.
  6. Tackling myths and stigma about hearing voices.
  7. Supporting people to build skills that empower them to change their relationship with voices.
  8. As appropriate, building this declaration into our planning processes.

The Declaration has now been signed by over 60 organisations.

What organisations have signed the Declaration?

To view a list of all the organisations, worldwide, who have agreed to the above commitments, click here.

How can my organisation sign the Declaration?

To register your organisation’s interest in supporting this movement, just contact us.

Where can I see the Declaration?

  • You can view and download a copy of the Declaration here
  • You can also view a series of consumers reading out parts of the Declaration on our YouTube channel here