In this story: Mental health /

"I have learnt, almost more than I have given."

“I believe that we are all in recovery from something; that might be a physical illness, a heartbreak, a loss or mental wellbeing. I am an Occupational Therapist by profession and have the privilege of being the Co-ordinator of North Ayrshire’s Wellbeing & Recovery College. Recovery College is funded by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and is delivered by the mental health charity ‘Recovery Across Mental Health’ (RAMH).

Throughout my career I have been passionate about mental health and the arts, encouraging creativity, developing creative expression and learning new skills. It is no surprise that arts type courses feature in our curriculum. The Recovery college offers courses on Zen Photography, Poetry in Mind, Dare to be Happier journaling, Wellbeing Film Café, Creative Recovery and Djembe Drumming. We are currently working on a publicly engaged arts project ‘CHIME to Recover… back to Normality?’ CHIME is a theme that works for improving everyone’s wellbeing: Increasing CONNECTEDNESS, Building HOPE, Developing our sense of IDENTITY, Finding MEANING and being EMPOWERED.

Our students grow and thrive and experience significant transformations in their lives and they are so willing to give back, to support others in the journey behind them. I have learnt, almost more than I have given, from the remarkable people who bring their honesty, openness and desire to learn. It is such a joy and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this amazing work.

I have had a very successful career as an Occupational Therapist, in the NHS, and worked on many projects and innovations but this Recovery College model is excellent and is all about self-management and empowerment and no sense at all of ‘doing to’ people. There is much partnership working with other organisations and I enjoy networking and sharing ideas. We have a cohort of independent tutors who also bring their expertise and training courses to support students’ learning and development and our core team is remarkable. Students and peers are partners with the staff team and we value co-production and celebrate at every opportunity. I love my job.”

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