Meet the people

Lianne Kirwan

Student Forum Chair for Louth and Meath

I first heard about the recovery college in 2017. I went along to my first course, get yourself connected through drama, and from there a new range of opportunities opened up. Prior to the recovery college, I spent many years working with horses. My interest in mental health recovery came through my own experience of mental health difficulties. Since joining, I have taken part in many of the courses the college has to offer. My role of co chair and student representative began last year and to date I have loved every minute of it. Looking to the future I hope to continue this journey and I am excited about all that is yet to come.

Liam Macgabhann

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.

John Kelly

College Coordinator

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.

Rose Marie Murphy

Steering Group Member

My interest in a Recovery College began when I heard Dr Julie Repper from IMROC speak at a conference. At first I didn’t really understand the concept and what made the courses different as a lot of the topics were already been delivered by Mental Health Services in Day Services. I really liked the idea of courses delivered out in the community and particularly attached to Colleges which I could see really brought mental health into regular education and accessible to all. I could see the benefit of this approach in supporting everyone with their mental health. It was only when I got involved with Dublin North, North East steering group that I have really began to understand what a Recovery College is and how Service Users, Family, Supporters and Professionals working together to co-produce and co-facilitate courses provides a really rich environment for learning. I am still learning about the Recovery College and am really excited to be involved.

Martha Griffin

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.

Jane Negrych

Lead Tutor for Mindfulness Association

Jane Negrych is a Lead Tutor for the Mindfulness Association, teaching on their year-long Mindfulness and Compassion courses throughout the UK, while delivering the 8-week program at home in Ireland. She also does work for the University of Aberdeen’s MSc Studies in Mindfulness program, of which she is a graduate.

Jane came to practice, study and facilitate Mindfulness through her own journey of Post-Traumatic Stress as the result of a burn injury. As someone who has battled with the aftermath of trauma, she has found that meditation, Mindfulness and Compassion based practices has the potential to transform our moment to moment experience of life through kindness and acceptance, while resting in the knowledge that each one of us is ‘intrinsically whole and well and free, and nothing that happens in life can damage or destroy this’.

Rowena Watters

Administration Support

I am linked with Saol Project, and they told me about recovery college. I have done a few of the courses which really helped my own trauma recovery. I also studied psychology and theology for 3 years and have a BA (hons) in Humanities from DCU. I enjoy being part of the recovery college and feel it’s been integral to my development as a person.

Sean Keating

Administration Support