Meet the people
Steering Group Chair and Facilitator
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.
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 - 2022
I'm Paula and new to the chair. It was through a hospital admission that I was led to the Summer festival 5 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.
Em Murphy Peer Educator & Administrator
Em Murphy is a community member and activist with lived experience in the area of recovery, trauma informed practice and dual diagnosis. She is passionate about Person Centred Care, and making sure service user voices are heard, and part of decision making processes regarding the provision of services. She is also passionate about developing robust trauma-informed services in all areas of life, with a vision of a trauma-informed society, which does not retraumatise or further traumatise already vulnerable individuals in need of support. She holds a diploma in Boundary Management and Person Centred Planning from Ballymun Youth Action Project, and has volunteered with UISCE, the national service for advocacy for people who use drugs, delivering overdose prevention workshops and naloxone training to service users in the local community. She has trained in Trauma Informed Care, and is currently doing an online course in Healing Trauma in the Community. She has been involved with Recovery College DCU since 2021, when she did Dual Diagnosis training, followed by a Train the Trainer workshop. She did an “Expert by Experience” guest lecture as part of the Trauma Informed Practice course run by Recovery College in December 2021. She hopes to continue to work with Recovery College in delivering educational training on Dual Diagnosis and Trauma Informed Care.
Triona Byrne Recovery Academy
Tríona has joined the Recovery College in 2022 as a Dual Diagnosis Project Co-ordinator and is now working with Recovery Academy Ireland. Tríona completed her bachelor’s degree in Community and Youth Work from the University of Maynooth. Tríona has lived experience of supporting family members with mental health and substance use issues, leading her to become curious about alternative models of mental health recovery. Tríona worked with the Recovery College in the past when she completed her community development placement. She was blown away by the work the College do and more specifically the community development approach they take to mental health. Tríona has started with us as a project co-ordinator, managing two projects that we are working on that aim to address the need for an integrated community response to the complex issues that surround the co-existence of mental health and substance use. Tríona is passionate about social change to achieve equality and social justice and human rights. Something she feels can only be achieved by the application of the principles of participation, empowerment and collective decision making in a structured and coordinated way. One of the goals of the projects is to build awareness and capacity surrounding trauma informed care and dual diagnosis in the community. Following on from this, the aim is to create an integrated community pathway for dual diagnosis care and support. Coming from a community development perspective, Tríona strongly feels the process is equally if not more important than the end goal and is committed to building solidarity within communities to act collectively for change. Tríona is currently completing a Masters in Human Rights and Social Policy, she intends to use her learning to affect the work she is doing to create long lasting sustainable policy change.
Ciara McDermott, Administrator.
Ciara has recently joined the Recovery College team, working in administration. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for the past 18 years. Originally I began practicing yoga and meditation as a tool to help me manage my own mental health better. These tools have become invaluable companions of mine for many years. I am very grateful for that and for forging the friendships I have made along the way. I completed my Yoga Teacher Training in 2013. Since I qualified as a yoga teacher I have worked in a yoga studio for two and a half years. I have taught my own yoga classes, corporate classes, outdoor classes, classes at events, classes in community centers and private classes. I am grateful for what I have learnt on my journey and continue to do so.