Recovery College Further Resources
See the drop down below for our Recovery College Further Resources.
Your Recovery Journey - Finding ‘Hope’, ‘Opportunity’ and ‘Control’
Recovery is a unique and individual experience. Everyone at some stage in their lives, experiences trauma, something that “knocks the bottom out of their world” and leaves them facing the challenge of rebuilding their lives; maybe the death of someone they love, a relationship breakup, physical illness, mental health difficulties….
Traditionally when we talked about Recovery we tended to mean “clinical” recovery, or recovering from symptoms, however we now realise that Personal Recovery is often more important to people.
Personal recovery focuses more on rebuilding a meaningful, valued and satisfying life whether or not someone continues to experience symptoms.
The Recovery journey can have its “ups” and “downs” and some people
describe the process as “being in Recovery” to reflect this.
Hope is widely acknowledged as key to recovery. There can be no change without a belief that a better life is both possible and attainable.
Mental health staff are committed to work in partnership with you and your family and friends. To help support you on your Recovery journey and help you discover a sense of hope that Recovery can be possible.
They may also help you discover some sense of control by helping you understand your experiences, encouraging you to have confidence in your own ability to know what you need and to help you set goals and work towards achieving these.
They will help you address any obstacles to achieving your goals offer you opportunities to discover new skills and harness your existing strengths, perhaps by signposting you to useful courses or other sources of support that will also help you grow your support network and reconnect with your community.
Guiding Principles of Recovery
- There are many pathways to recovery
- Recovery is self-directed and empowering
- Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation
- Recovery is holistic
- Recovery has cultural dimensions
- Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellbeing
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies
- Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude
- Recovery involves healing and self-redefinition
- Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending stigma and shame
- Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
- Recovery is a reality, It can and will happen
Source: CSAT White Paper: Guiding Principles and Elements of
Recovery-Orientated systems of care.
Other Ways of Getting Involved - Writing Your Recovery Story
To live in and with hope is essential to us all. Telling your story can be an important part of your recovery journey and the overall healing process. Telling your story is important not only for yourself, it can also help to inspire hope in others starting
on their journeys of recovery. Your story can also benefit those working within mental health services to gain perspective, make changes and improve services for those affected by mental health issues.
We would like to hear your story and learn more about your own journey of recovery.
Here are a few guidelines to help you write your story.
- Please start your story with a brief introduction to your problems and how they have affected your life.
- Please let us know where and how you first found help for these difficulties and what on-going help you make use of, if any. Your story can include both the positive and negative experiences of your journey.
- We are particularly keen to hear about experiences that helped you find a sense of hope that Recovery was possible.
- We would also like to hear if you have found ways to feel more in control of your life and how you have achieved this.
- Finally, we would like to know where you are on your journey now. Have you achieved any of your hopes and dreams, what opportunities do you see for your future?
- Stories should roughly be between 200-500 words (roughly 2 typed A4 pages)
Other Ways of Getting Involved - Co-production
In order to develop courses to be delivered within the recovery college we are looking for motivated and enthusiastic individuals to share their skills and lived experience.
If you think you would like to contribute to writing and developing courses and workshops around themes of self- management, personal development and mental health conditions please complete the form included in this pack.
We are looking for individuals who:
- have lived experience of mental health conditions
- the ability to work as part of small group
- some free time to spare (time commitment 1/2 day – 1 day, depending on length of course)
- are willing to work on voluntary basis at present
- have skills such as IT experience, backgrounds or experience in
- training/education, and/or specific areas of mental health. These
- skills would be helpful but are not essential.
You may find attending our Recovery College workshop; “sharing skills to promote learning for Health” a useful introduction to learning skills for passing on your knowledge and experience within a group setting.
Getting Involved - Staying in Touch
You may not feel ready to get involved directly in writing or delivering courses or attending our service user group but you may still wish to be kept informed of what is happening in your area, for example what courses are available in your area or any initiatives planned.
You can visit our website at www.westerntrust.hscni.net
You can follow us on twitter @westernhsctrust
Or like our facebook page, westernhsctrust
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our mailing list
Other Ways to get Involved - Co-delivery
In addition to developing courses we are looking for individuals who feel they have the confidence and skills to deliver our courses to students within the recovery college.
We are looking for people who have travelled some way on their own recovery journeys and who are willing to share their lived experience and stories of hope, control and opportunity to inspire and educate others.
We are looking for Individuals who:
- Have lived experience mental health difficulties
- Are committed to their own recovery journey and at a stage where they can help others
- Have good communication skills and ability to use their own recovery journey to benefit and support others
- Good people and group skills
- Are able to commit time to prepare and deliver courses. This may vary depending on course
- Are prepared to give your time on a voluntary basis initially
Previous experience in delivering training would be helpful but
is not essential.
If you are interested, you may find attending the Recovery College workshop; “Sharing Skills to Promote Learning for Health” very helpful in developing your skills in sharing information and working as part of a group.
Coping with Psychosis
Every person is unique and most of us experience some difficulties with our mental health at different times in our lives. These difficulties can range from mild feelings of unease, to more distressing experiences such as unusual thoughts/beliefs or hearing voices… This is sometimes referred to as psychosis. When someone in the family has symptoms of psychosis, it may be confusing and distressing for the family and friends. In this time of stress it can be helpful to learn what to expect and what to do.
Psychosis affects an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours and varies greatly from person to person. It is more common than people think, about 3% of all people will experience psychosis at some point in their life.
For a person dealing with these experiences, it is sometimes hard to tell what is real, from what is not real. The individual may feel overwhelmed by things going on around them and may feel confused, distressed, afraid and lack in self-confidence.
The illness may have caused them to lose control of their thoughts and feel overwhelmed by the world around them. They may have ideas that someone is persecuting them or talking about them, or they may also hear voices or feel depressed.
Vulnerability and Stress
All of us are vulnerable to certain levels of stress although some people are more vulnerable than others and find it more difficult to cope. For your relative, this may be the result of things happening to them which are stressful, causing them to hear voices or develop strong beliefs that to them seem to explain what is happening.
Stress doesn’t usually do this to people but we think it occurs where or when vulnerability and stress people are vulnerable in some way. They may have a family history of similar problems or a particularly sensitive personality. It is possible that there are changes in the brain that make people vulnerable, but it remains unclear as to what these might be. Isolation, sleep disturbance and use of some drugs are also possible factors.
What to expect
The impact of this experience can be very difficult for your relative. Their body and brain need rest to be able to cope, just as we need rest to get over the flu. Recovery may take a little time. It is common for individuals who have had this experience to:
- Sleep longer hours every night (or even during the day) for many months.
- Feel the need to be quiet and alone more often than other people.
- Be less active and feel that they cannot or do not want to do much at times.
These behaviours are natural ways of slowing down in order to help the body and brain recover. It is best to let the person recover at his or her own pace instead of expecting them to get back to their previous level of functioning immediately. For many people, it may take several months or a year to recover.
Putting too much pressure on the person to get up or go out and do things can slow down recovery. It may not be helpful for the person to lie down all day, have everything done for them or never do any household chores.
As your relative recovers
It is a good idea to gently encourage them to help with simple chores, chat with the family, or ask if they would like to go out on some social outing they used to like. If the person says no at this stage you should leave him or her alone, saying “Okay, but you are welcome to come when you want to”.
It is not a good idea to do everything for your relative, or to do so much that you feel worn out. For example, some family members may feel they have to tidy up after their relative or do all their cooking for them.
It is important to encourage your relative to take responsibility for such tasks, but perhaps offer to help if necessary. You may need to supervise them while they are trying to make a meal, as their memory and thinking abilities may be slowed. It is important to let your relative know they will recover and you will support them in this process.
It may be beneficial for your recovering relative to have a quiet place to go. This can be quite helpful for the person to cope with symptoms they are experiencing. It is NOT a personal rejection of you or the family if the person withdraws to his or her bedroom quite frequently. It is only if your relative stays there all the time that you need to be concerned. If the withdrawal is excessive, it can mean that some symptoms may be reoccurring.
For the same reason you may find your relative being emotionally distant, not very affectionate, or expressing very little feeling. This may be part of their experience and is NOT a personal reflection of anyone. In the same way as the need for quiet withdrawal, this emotional distance is simply the need to cut down on all the confusing stimulation.
Often the person may like to just sit in company and watch or listen to people. It is OK to accept these behaviours and not be worried by your relative saying nothing when in the company of others.
Your relative may sometimes talk in a strange way which you might find hard to follow. The talk may seem unconnected or irrelevant to the conversation at times. Your relative may make unexpected remarks that do not make sense. This ‘odd’ conversation may happen because of difficulties in thinking clearly or because the person is hearing voices that seem very real to them, that others do not hear. It is important to remember that the person with psychosis often acts and speaks quite normally.
Symptoms often get better and may re-appear only under stress. It is important to learn about your relative’s symptoms and the course the illness typically takes. It may be that your relative has been prescribed some medication to alleviate some of the more distressing symptoms and it is important that you have an understanding of this.
Do not forget, your relative has many successful coping skills. It may be difficult for them to recall these skills when they are trying to recover.
Looking after yourself
During this time it is important to look after your own health as you cannot help your relative if you become ill.
- Monitor your own stress levels and set limits.
- Make use of all the supports that are available to you and your relative.
- Ask for help from other family members and friends.
- Try to keep some free time for things that you enjoy.
- Keep in contact with your GP and any other professionals involved e.g.
your relative’s key worker.
Remember: Psychosis is treatable. Recovery is expected.
- Limavady 028 7772 2123
- Shantallow 028 7135 0063
- Strabane 028 7138 2963
- Waterside 028 7131 4200
- Enniskillen CMHT 028 6632 6604
- Omagh CMHT 028 8225 3082 / 028 8225 3083
If you care for someone with psychosis further support is available from:
- Carers NI 028 9043 9843
- Cause NW 0751 5065 296
- WHSCT Carers Co-ordinator 028 6634 4000
- Lifeline 24 Hours 0808 808 8000
This information was compiled by the Psycho-Social Intervention Nurse Forum, formed by nurses within the Western Trust