We asked three service users about their experiences of home. A Place to Belong held a forum on this issue as part of our Guiding Group. The resulting feedback was crafted into a national report and campaign by Anglicare at a national level to raise awareness in the community of the importance of housing and home for your mental health and wellbeing.
Written by Marianne Wyder
Based on the contributions, experiences and writings of:
Jenny Giang, Birthe Griffith, Deborah Irvine, Sharon Juma, Joan Koenig Hughes, John Maher, Rise Faith Rosello, Helena Roennfeldt, Bridie Stewart, Hoa Ta, Rosslyn Taylor, Marianne Wyder and others who preferred to withhold their names from publication.
We would like to thank Naiara Carillo for her editing and the wider A Place to Belong Community for their ongoing support and comments on the various drafts of this chapter.
This is the story of Anne. It is also a story of recovery and rediscovery of our ‘self’ after a time of significant mental health distress.
This first chapter marks the start of this journey. In this chapter we meet Anne and through her eyes get a glimpse of what it is like to be in a psychiatric inpatient unit. We are also introduced to other individuals with similar journeys.
This story is based on the experiences and writings of a group of individuals who have experienced – or supported others experiencing – a time of significant mental health distress. This project started in February 2015, after a workshop held by A Place to Belong about the future of inpatient mental health care. Since that time we have met on a monthly basis and shared some of our journeys. During these sessions we also wrote about our challenges and successes.
These writings were then collected by Marianne, who incorporated these into Anne’s story. No one character in this story is based on one person’s experience and all of our experiences are represented in the different characters in this story.
We are currently writing an academic paper where we reflect on how health care professionals can best support us during these times.
For further contact Marianne can be reached on – M.firstname.lastname@example.org
The journal Literacy and Numeracy Studies published by the University of Technology, Sydney has recently published an article about the Reading and Writing Group at A Place to Belong.
The article is called “He was learning to read, but he wasn’t learning to live :Socially inclusive learning in a community setting” by Greg Marston of QUT and Jeffrey Johnson-Abdelmalik .
The link to the journal article http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/lnj/issue/view/350
In October 2014, Anglicare Southern Qld published the report “He was learning to read, but he wasn’t learning to live.” based on a year’s research in 2013 into the Reading and Writing Group. To quote from the Conclusion to the report :
“RAW is a small community-based program doing remarkable work. The teachers and the tutors do not shy away from some difficult problems. The flexibility, good humour and commitment from the teacher and the tutors and the staff of A Place to Belong who interact with the program is evident. So, what can a small program like this teach the wider community? It reinforces the close link between literacy and social inclusion. In practice, the streams of literacy training and social inclusion work are often siloed. TAFE provides training in reading and writing skills but it is left to other agencies to do the work of social inclusion. What is missed in this approach is the gestalt of shared understandings and knowledge about these deeply connected needs.”