ARCHES Recovery College Website launch in the dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire

Over 100 people attended the ARCHES Recovery College website launch in the dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, on Friday 22nd March 2024.

ARCHES Recovery College gives people a choice to engage in a broad range of self-directed, transformative learning opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and abilities; self-manage mental health; improve quality of life; and ultimately flourish. The service uses Adult Education principles to help people share knowledge about different coping strategies, develop ways of making sense of psychological distress, and experience belonging, meaning in life, and empowerment.

In the Welcome Address, Aisling Heffernan (Chief Officer, HSE Community Healthcare East) stated:

“ARCHES has coproduced a comprehensive Recovery Education programme that holistically considers the needs of service users, their family members, supporters, and mental health professionals. This is focused on helping people with rumination, enhancing resilience, navigating identity challenges, understanding trauma informed care, using creativity to help people to make sense of experiences, eating healthily, and practicing mindfulness (to name a few).”

When introducing the website and explaining its functionality, Dr Donal O’Keeffe (HSE Community Healthcare East Recovery Coordinator and Manager of ARCHES Recovery College) stated:

Our new website will be a powerful resource for all of us and help get information about available supports out to people in need. We hope it will support the community for many years to come… Employing people with Lived Experience directly challenges psychiatric stigma and is a mechanism for mental health service reform. Recovery means being treated like others and being recognised for your value and societal contribution.”

In her Keynote talk, Ann Sheridan (Emeritus Professor) reflected on the history of psychiatric care in Ireland and the social movement behind the championing of Lived Experience. The HSE National Counselling Service also gave a talk on how they promote mental health recovery, particularly in the context of the experience of trauma.

The afternoon ended with a powerful Panel Discussion on the value of Lived Experience employment for the recovery of the employee, for other people in recovery, and for culture change and service improvement.