• Wee Read at Words Work Well Weekend September 18th

    Words Work Well

    Reading, writing, storytelling, new friends!
    I spent last weekend on the best writing weekend ever. It was at Whatton Lodge in Gullane. With some old friends, Larry Butler, Ted Bowman, Valerie Gillies who were leading people like me who try to be better at facilitating the healing words work that we all do all the time.Organised by Lapidus Scotland, it is part of the project to bring training in bibliotherapy, using words for wellbeing, to Scotland. See more

    This useful  toolkit will soon be used to train new and current facilitators of groups – please let me know if you are interested!

    The setting was glorious and gave us a space where we found treasures, words to express our feelings and heartfelt stories for the future. We came together to play, learn and simply share ourselves.
    Thanks to everyone who was there- I am sure we are all reaping the fruits and benefits of that experience. It was like a cornerstone to start my autumn, my favourite season.
    We explored the new Words Work Well Toolkit – a great collection of useful experiences of using words for wellbeing across Scotland.

    I came to Gullane from Edinburgh – Embra-in Lanarkshire dialect. From my evening at the Scottish parliament where I met fellow travellers in the See Me campaign to wipe out mental health discrimination. I found the name of my local community innovation project – See Me, Read Me!Thanks to Eleanor Ogilvie and Laetitia Jan for welcoming me to this new circle of friends.
    See more

    It’s great for me to belong, to share a vision – to speak openly about our mental illness experiences and especially the taboos that end some people’s lives in suicide.


  • See Me Reception Evening at The Scottish Parliament 17th September


    My first visit to the Scottish Parliament last night was memorable. The first person I met was a mother who had lost a child to suicide. This was the second mother met in a week who had both lost a young woman. There are no words. But I did have a conversation with them. The prevention or ability to talk about suicide more freely is one of my main motivations in delivering this work. I think some people who consider killing themselves, would benefit just from talking. Samaritans were fantastic for me when I was struggling with suicidal thoughts.
    I hope that Wee Read reading and writing groups offer that kind of lifeline, as well as something more. A chance to express what you are unable to say, a chance to talk about emotions, moods, feelings. A chance to use the imagination, to hear beautiful words, to think differently.

    Last night I networked in this fantastic building, full of magic windows; inspiring; encouraging; hopeful. It was strange that it was the eve of this referendum anniversary that I was there. It is a hopeful place. I met two MSPs, a former SNP press office worker and a mixture of great people from the See Me team.
    I found the name of my project title, it is: SEE ME, READ ME.
    So look out for a new page here with news of this exciting project fighting discrimination and taboos about mental illness.

  • Wee Read at The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2015

    I am excited to announce my Wee Read event at the festival on Friday the 16th of October in Hamilton.

    I AM    I AM    I AM

    The poetry of Sylvia Plath and
    Maya Angelou is the starting point
    for this workshop, which explores
    writing about mental health stigma
    in a supportive environment.

    Be inspired, talk about the way it is
    and let your voice be heard!

    Fri 16 Oct, 2–3pm
    Hamilton St John’s Centre,
    Duke Street, Hamilton ML3 7DT
    Free / Booking required
    Booking: 07952 982 868

    simple logopsd3 copySEE_ME_HEXSMHAFF regional logos




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    Image copyright Mellis-Fox Photos




  • WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Planning- Training at The Hope Cafe on the 14th and 21st of August, 2015

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    WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Planning- Training at The Hope Cafe on the 14th and 21st of August, 2015

    WRAP- the Wellness Recovery Action Plan is a tool to support self-management in mental wellbeing.It is used by The Scottish Recovery Network

    The two-day course that I attended at the Hope Cafe was a start to me taking the next steps that I need, to plan for :

    • everyday activity that helps me feel well

    • essential healthcare maintenance

    • realistic goals that are achievable

    • when I am having a severe episode, what do I need from my family and friends who support me?

    • other essentials

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    I found the course challenging and emotional. I was resistant to the idea of ‘recovery’ as meaning that I will get completely fixed. We talked openly about this and I found allies who felt similarly to me. This was a surprise, due to the almost ‘brand’ of ‘Recovery’ that is sweeping across the mental health field. I am a wee bit cynical about it. I thought most other people would be disappointed that I do not agree with the concept. However, it is a term that most people have their own meaning for. I respect and appreciate that.

    What also surprised me, was the honesty that we had in the cafe. We told our stories of despair, hope, living well, or living not-so-well.

    It was an honour and a privelege to be with such a group of women, and Scott, who were willing to put themselves right out there and I have total respect!

    The first day was on Friday 14th then – after a week the 2nd day was on the 21st August. The faces came on the 2nd Friday, shining, younger-looking, as if we’d all had face-lifts! Someone told me I looked much better too! That was a sign to me that this tool works.

    Whilst I am sceptical about tools, and the notion of ‘fixing’ ourselves in a generic way, I have to concede that the Wellness Recovery Action Plan has something special about it, something magical. It originated in USA by Mary Ellen Copeland www.mentalhealthrecovery.com

    with people who had enduring/severe mental illnesses. Yet, it’s a soft tool, it relies on your own personal responsibility, your choices of what you consider essential for your well-being. It uses something like some basic Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is self-management.The Hope Cafe Wrap Training (2)

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    I think perhaps one of the things that made this very useful and moving for me, was this group of people, and the setting. The Hope Cafe and Donna Barrowman deserve all the help they can get, because this is social recovery, this is co-active , keeping each other well by frank conversations about what is usually stigmatised, avoided, unmentionable, and therefore, unmanageable. Well done to us who helped break down the barriers with each other!!

    Thanks again to The Hope Cafe  !