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Creativity and its place in recovery

March 4, 2013

Last week I had the privilege to attend the Principles into Practice Network Awards and Conference  – to be honest I get to attend a fair number of conferences, the question really is why blog about this one.  Followers of my blog will notice of course that I blogged last week about a conference, however my purpose in that blog was to highlight the power and reach of Twitter, this is different.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, through their Principles into Practice Network hold this bi-annual event.  It is there to celebrate innovative and good practice from services and projects across Scotland in exemplifying the principles that underpin the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. For ease these principles are noted in the table below:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Equality
  • Respect for diversity
  • Reciprocity
  • Informal care
  • Participation
  • Respect for carers
  • Least restrictive alternative
  • Benefit
  • Child welfare

The conference opened with Lorraine telling us of her journey with mental illness, through the dark days of depression which she described as a Sunami sweeping over her, an overwhelming darkness where she lost hope.  For me one of the powerful messages from her was her explanation of others hold her ‘hope’ for her, as she had lost it.  One of the critical aspects of this is the ‘temporary’ loss of hope and of others holding it for her was the need to enable her to take back that hope as she progressed through her recovery.

In her discourse with the audience Lorraine (Renaissance woman) allowed us insights into how she “gained strength though vulnerability”

In her pictorial presentation she vividly described the fragile road she travelled, how creativity had given her a path of hope and a way to self reflect on her recovery.  For absolute clarity, Lorraine was not saying recovery was the absence of mental illness, it was the ability to live well in the presence or absence of it.   See for details of Lorraine’s story.

“People outwith ‘art circles’ may not recognise or appreciate the immense value of art and creativity in recovery” – it seemed that lots of people agreed with that!  Underpinning this statement from Lorraine is her explanation that creativity is one of the first ‘gifts’ we develop as children, is it therefore any wonder that if nurtured and encouraged that it should not be one of the first keys in the process of recovery – it’s not “just a nice hobby”.  For those of us in health or social care services please take a few minutes to reflect on how (if) your service supports this aspect of a persons wellbeing.

My Life

At lunchtime I was near to tears, I went into the lunchtime film showing of ‘My Life’ a film made by Peter McMahon.  Peter’s film explores the many way that he was bullied and ridiculed simply for because he had a learning disability.  The film was a wonderful portrayal of how Peter rose above the bullies and engaged with a wide group of individuals and organisations.  I was also immensely saddened as some of Peter’s contemporaries described how remained a feature of their lives.

Chilling aspect of the film were when Peter’s friends aid “most people have experienced being bullied because they had a learning disability’.  The film has also some poignant moments of triumph – when Peter speaks on the local radio station, when he influences the local bus company to taking seriously what happens on their buses.  Making the film meant that Peter. for the first time was really able to speak to his own family about it and thereby tap into the natural support that was there for him.  A powerful film, made by a larger than life character.

The film is available for use for education purposes – if you are in education or work with groups of people where you think the message of respect, of embracing of ‘different’ could be enhanced this film can support your work.

Twitters facts

Finally, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give you a few Twitter facts from the conference:

PipAwards13 - Twitter stats

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2013 9:01 pm

    A coincidence: I was asked yesterday if I would share a call by a researcher on linksbetween bullying and depression. For anyone interested:


  1. Creativity and its place in recovery | weeklyblogclub
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