Free resources to support recovery story sharing
29th May 2018
Louise Christie, SRN Network Manager reflects on the development and collection of recovery stories as part of the Making Recovery Real in Dundee project and introduces a range of free resources.
In March we shared the Making Recovery Real in Dundee film that had just been launched at a high profile premiere at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). The launch event was attended by many including Shona Robison, MSP and Minister for Health and Sport. I hope you have had time to watch this fantastic film but if not we would urge you to watch it now.
The film is the result of two to three years’ work in Dundee involving many people. Making Recovery Real in Dundee brings Scottish Recovery Network, local public and third sector organisations and people living with mental health issues together to make recovery a reality for everyone in the city. It got off the ground in late 2015 at a launch event where we asked people what was important to them and what would make Dundee a City of Recovery (as well as the City of Discovery as it’s more popularly known!). The overwhelming response was ‘listening to lived experience and acting on what people say helps their recovery’. So it was decided that Making Recovery Real in Dundee would collect and share stories of lived experience and recovery to inspire change in attitudes, practice and policy.
Making Recovery Real in Dundee held regular events and workshops bringing people living with mental health issues, local organisations and services and decision-makers together in an environment where lived experience was not only listened to and valued but central to everything we were doing. This created spaces where people felt safe, in control and supported. Through word of mouth more and more people got involved.
We used a range of approaches to support people to develop and share their stories. This gave people opportunity and time to think through and develop their stories and also to increase their confidence. Indeed, over time many of those involved changed their views on anonymity. They went from having concerns about people knowing their story to wanting to be in the film and are now involved in publicising it. Examples of the materials used are available for you to use and adapt as appropriate (see below).
We also recruited and trained a group of peer Recovery Story Sharing Facilitators who reached out to people and supported them to share their stories. We did this by running sessions where people could drop-in and develop their story, interviewing people and inviting people to write their own story. We had hoped to run a number of story sharing groups but this didn’t work as well as we had hoped. However, we found that running story sharing sessions with local organisations and groups worked really well. We have developed a Guide for Recovery Story Sharing Facilitators (see below) to support their activities.
The idea for a film came early on in the process. People felt strongly that film was a popular and accessible way to get the message out. It was also a good way to get as many people as possible involved. Once the film was made those involved saw it first and have been involved in developing the plans to take the film out to services and the community. There is a lot of pride in what we have achieved, not only in the quality of the film but also the process people have gone through in making it.
The film is now available online. In Dundee, Making Recovery Real participants are already planning a series of film showings and discussions with decision-makers, service providers and community organisations. Our hope is that the Dundee Recovery Stories Film will inspire people on their own recovery journey and also lead to change in how we support people living with mental health issues. If you would like to show the film and have your own discussion you may find the Recovery Stories Film Discussion Guide which accompanies it useful (see below).
We hope that by sharing what has been done through Making Recovery Real in Dundee you will be inspired to join us in collecting and sharing stories of lived experience and recovery.
Keep in touch with us and let us know what you are doing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Recovery Story Sharing Facilitator Guide
- Making Recovery Real in Dundee Recovery Stories Film and Discussion Guide
- Example Story Sharing Activites
You might also be interested in SRN’s story-sharing website Write to Recovery