Scottish Recovery Network is 15!
19th June 2019
SRN Director Frank Reilly reflects on the organisations journey and launches the new What peer means to me series!
SRN is 15 years old this year, and what a journey we have had. Starting with the driving passion that Simon Bradstreet – now Dr Bradstreet – brought to our new organisation in 2004, we are now in a very different set of circumstances. Back then recovery was a difficult to define concept that had real possibilities to change our health and social care system radically.
Our commissioned narrative research told us that recovery is a personal experience and is self-defined, reflecting the diversity of experience that is common in mental health distress. That diversity of experience also told us that there is no magic, single solution to mental health distress or illness. For support and services to become recovery oriented they must able to respond to that diversity and to create opportunities for Connection, Hope, Identity, Meaning and Empowerment (Leamy et al 2011). This is more likely when services include a team of properly rewarded and supported peers, where reflective practice allows others to recognise their own experience of distress.
What we learned in our first 10 years of existence was that being part of a wider programme of funded activity- the National Programme for Mental Health – increased our influence and impact exponentially. There is no doubt that significant reductions in spending across the health and social care system since the banking crisis has made promoting recovery more challenging.
Over the past 5 years we have taken the learning from developing ideas and frameworks for peer support, self-management tools such as Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) and Write to Recovery, and our experience of influencing health and social care systems and adapted them to meet the needs of communities through the Making Recovering Real approach. We have learned that our peers exist everywhere in Scottish society: in families, in communities, in professional groups, everywhere!
What peer means to me?
So what is a peer? As part of our 15th anniversary celebrations, and in order to explore that very question, SRN is launching a ‘What peer means to me?’ series. The aim of this series is to capture the full range of understanding in Scotland today. To start us off here are some of my thoughts on what the future might bring for ‘peer’ in Scotland.
For me personally, my peer is someone I can trust being honest with, someone with whom I can explore my story, someone who may have had a similar experience but who recognises that each experience is different. Those are challenging conditions to aspire to, reflected in SRN’s peer values framework. Services conscious of regulation may place additional training and governance in to the mix. The best ones will promote good practice such as regular supervision, reflective practice and remuneration to support their peer workers on a career pathway. But are these the only definitions?
As we say in SRN ‘The Future is Peer’. Do you agree? Please leave your comments about peer below or if you would like to contribute (written, filmed, audio, animation etc) to our What peer means to me series contact Christine Muir, Senior Communications Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 240 7790.