An interview with SRN’s new Write to Recovery Facilitators
23rd January 2017
SRN are delighted to welcome to the team Emma Monaghan and Erin Crombie as our new Write to Recovery group facilitators.
Emma and Erin will be developing and facilitating Write to Recovery groups, for people affected by mental health problems, in local communities across Scotland.
Here we find out a little bit more about them…
Why did you want to work with SRN?
Emma: I have always had an interest in working with people with mental health issues. I became aware of the work that SRN does when I helped to facilitate a Write to Recovery group in my previous job. The group was a great success and they were keen to expand on the work they were doing. SRN help to involve people and this is something I was keen to be a part of.
Erin: I wanted to work in a capacity where I’d feel like I was doing something meaningful, contributing to something that could make a difference to peoples’ lives. That was the big attraction for me. The opportunity to do this through the medium of creative writing was the icing on the cake.
What does recovery means to you?
Emma: Recovery is personal to each individual. For me, it is about taking the time to listen to people and to help them think about their journey and what they would like to achieve. For a lot of people recovery involves working with other services. I think it is important to help people get their voice heard to make sure they feel their views are being considered.
Erin: I think recovery is something you work on and maintain. I don’t think it’s something that happens, some phenomenon that takes place, and then everything is better. It isn’t something that happens suddenly.
Recovery, to me, is the process of finding your way to manage the difficulties you may face, in a way that allows you to be yourself and enjoy life. It doesn’t involve magic cures or changing who you are.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
Emma: I am looking forward to meeting new groups of people and introducing them to Write to Recovery. Writing is a great way to let people express themselves and highlights the fact that everyone can be creative in their own way. It will also be great to get to know other organisations who will help us connect to communities across Scotland.
Erin: Mostly, I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting people. I can’t wait to hear peoples’ stories and help create some great writing projects.
Why do you think people find writing about their stories and experiences helpful?
Emma: Writing is creative whether it is a simple list or a short story. People can express themselves in a way that is different to talking. Writing lets people get their thoughts out of their head and down on paper. It isn’t concrete, it can be changed as many times as a person likes. It is personal and can sometimes be the only way for those who feel they have no voice, to communicate. Personally, I have begun to use writing more in my everyday life since I started facilitating a Write to Recovery group.
Erin: I think people are unaware of a lot of things until they are given the opportunity to engage in creative thought. Their feelings, their beliefs, their aspirations. I think people gloss over a lot about themselves in daily life. Writing helps encourage people to take themselves seriously by giving them space to explore their internal world.
It’s validating to get to think about what you want and what you don’t want, and why. I think people who are experiencing distress will often find themselves feeling lost and willing to defer to other peoples’ guidance about what the ‘right thing’ to do is. I think writing helps people to hold on to their identity and use it as an anchor in times of distress.
What might our readers be surprised to know about you?
Emma: I bake and decorate cakes as a hobby. I have loved baking from a young age and enjoy the creative side to it. I also have an interest in fitness. In the past year I have taken up strength training and can nearly deadlift my own body weight.
Erin: I’m really into painting. I’m not very good, but I do it a lot. I like painting weird, abstract things and making a mess. It’s not for everyone, but I don’t really do it for other people. It’s something I do for myself.
If you would be interested in hearing more about how to start a Write to Recovery group in your organisation / area contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 240 7790.