Meet the people
Steering Group Chair
Dr Líam Mac Gabhann works in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at Dublin City University. I am a senior lecturer, mental health practitioner, community activist and Director of the Healthy Living Centre. Along with a wide group of colleagues and community members my main programme of research and practice development focuses on `Transforming Dialogues in Mental Health Communities`. Much of this work centres around people reconciling their own experiences, perceptions and practices with other people/groups associated with mental health and using different approaches to improve these at indiviual, group, organisational and community level. Examples of relevant areas include; where people have extraordinary experiences and beliefs; when people are disenfranchised by society and community; and in the area of Trauma and responses to traumatic events. Approaches include cooperative learning, participative action, open dialogue and systemic family constellations work. Drawing on experiences from ongoing research & development and my practitioner education & experience, I facilitate workshops on service/team development, creating open dialogue around contentious issues, trauma and peoples response to trauma and systemic family constellations work.
The Recovery College as an emancipatory community development approach to Recovery is alligned with this overarching programme of research and development; where all of the relevant players in mental health communities collaborate to embed the tools of recovery in community, self empowerment and particpatory action. I am a Principal Investigator for the Dublin North, North East Recovery College, involved with the strategic development , course design and provision.
Prior to taking up the role of Coordinator, I’ve spent the previous six years working as a Community Development Worker, supporting the peer led work of both the Gateway Mental Health Project in Rathmines and the Dublin 12 Disability Mainstream Access Project.
My passion for mental health recovery is informed by my own personal journey of recovery, a journey which allowed me to gain back the control and confidence necessary, to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. Central to my recovery journey was, I believe, the decision to take responsibility for my own mental health wellbeing, with the support of a good network of friends, family members and professionals.
Recognising that this journey is never the same for any two people, I’m excited to be part of such a forward thinking educational approach, one that gives equal importance of both ‘professional’ and ‘lived’ experience. In providing students with a shared learning environment, real choice and opportunities to inform the work of the college at all levels, I believe the Recovery College has a great opportunity to empower people to develop their own set of skills, confidence and networks, necessary to plot their own respective journey of recovery.
Peer Educator and Steering Group Member
I have always had an interest in social justice, equality and striving for a better world. In 2001, I completed a Bachelor of Legal Studies and Taxation and found that the legal profession for me, was not the right tool to improve society and bring about change. In 2005 I returned to college and completed a H. Dip in Community and Youth Work. I have been extremely lucky in life to have met many fantastic mentors, supporters and allies, I also encountered some challenging times but I have learned some tough, valuable lessons and I am stronger for the experience. I had the privilege of coordinating the Gateway Mental Health Project in Rathmines for 7 years and it was there that I learned more about mental health, recovery and the ebb and flow of life. I have had my own experience of mental ill health and recovery and continue to work on my own mental health, I am sometimes not sure where my work life ends and I begin as the two are so deeply intertwined. I am passionate about participation, people power and change and I am delighted to be involved with the recovery college.
Student Forum Chair 2019 - 2020
I'm Paula and new to the chair. It was through a hospital admission that I was led to the Summer festival 3 years ago. I got as far as the gates of DCU , turned and ran home with anxiety. Thankfully my connection to Recovery College was not broken. I attended some courses and gained confidence. Enough to co facilitate a Crafts for Wellness course. I loved it and want to continue my journey.
I studied social studies and worked in the care sector, as house parent with daughter of charity, as an occupational therapist assistant with spina bifida young adults. I took time out to raise 4 children. I returned to college where I studied craft production, with the hope of working with people struggling with mental health. My philosophy being, when our hands are busy, our minds can find peace. I believe strongly in this.