What is recovery?
Hope that, in the face of what can sometimes seem like overwhelming odds, a meaningful life is possible.
Control over what you want to do in life, of the path your journey takes and of how you receive help along the way.
Opportunity to do the things that you want to do, to do the things that make life worthwhile, to have a place in the world and a connection to the people in it.
The primary aim of SLaM in its work with service users is to support them in their recovery – SLaM Recovery Charter
There are as many definitions of recovery as there are people in recovery. Here are just four:
Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even with the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness - Bill Anthony
Recovery is coping with your illness and having a meaningful life - Gordon McManus
Recovery is not about waiting for the storm to be over. It is about learning to dance in the rain – Favour Ewado
Recovery involves living as well as possible - SLaM Social Inclusion and Recovery Strategy
But really we can't think of anything that explains recovery better than the following films.
The Dragon Café first opened its doors in October 2012. Every Monday, the Mental Fight Club team create a warm, creative embrace of a space in the Crypt of St George the Martyr Church, opposite Borough tube station. It offers fabulous vegetarian food, scrumptious cakes, lashings of tea and coffee and a packed agenda of music, poetry, drama, talks, discussions, writing, film-making and screenings, boxing, Tai Chi, massage and much, much more. The film was made by participants in film-making workshops at the café.
The next film is about a flourishing mental health charity based in Lewisham. Sydenham Garden is a unique wellbeing centre utilising its gardens, nature reserve and activity rooms to help people in their recovery from both mental and physical ill-health.
Michelle McNary is a film maker who has had experience of using mental health services. Her film, shown here in two parts, is a powerful study of living with mental illness. Her film explores the concept of recovery and what it means through the personal experiences and observations of four people - Ben Haydon, Dolly Sen, Gordon McManus and James Bellamy - who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Part one of Michelle's film
Part two of Michelle's film
For more films about mental health problems and treatment, check out SLaM's YouTube channel.