ARI Recovery – Making It Happen
Tuesday March 27, 2018
I was delighted to be invited to the ARI learning set entitled ‘Recovery – Making It Happen’, hosted in the Bonnington Hotel. This was an amazing opportunity to gain insight into the experiences of those who provide and use the recovery services currently available within Ireland, as well as looking to the future of recovery.
Coming from my own background as a third year undergraduate student of Psychology, I had become very familiar with the more medical approach to analysing and treating mental health and this perception has become open up to viewing mental health as something that can benefit greatly from a recovery approach that encourages empowerment of the individual.
The day consisted of an exhibition of the various recovery services available to people, along with different talks given by service providers and service users giving their personal experiences of either providing recovery orientated services or using the services, and a selection of workshops aiming to provide knowledge on the different aspects of recovery. I attended two of the workshops – ‘Making Recovery Happen Through Supporting Skills & Knowledge Development’ and ‘Peer Support Workers supporting recovery oriented mental health services’. The first workshop I attended concerned the role of peer support workers. After gaining a better understanding of the why having peer support workers is important in the journey toward recovery, I was surprised to learn that there are only a total of 35 peer support workers currently in Ireland. This workshop highlighted for me the importance of peer support workers as they fill a previously neglected gap in the mental health services by providing the services with a perspective from someone with lived experience of having mental health difficulties. The final workshop included a talk from a Recovery College student, Marian, discussing her experience as a Recovery College student to working with the college to collaborate on creating and delivering courses to further contribute to the mental health recovery education.
The day proved to be an informative experience that delivered valuable information on the way mental health recovery is currently regarded through personal anecdotes of service users and talks given by service providers. Both the workshops and talks provided me with information that strongly cemented for me that a service and recovery initiative that is influenced by individuals who have the lived experience of facing difficulties regarding their mental health is one that will understand and better cater to the needs of the people it serves