“Writing is a sensual act. The physical putting pen to paper. It releases that inner turmoil"

Recovery College Student

We’re all trying to recover – this is what we’re trying to do. What I found really supportive was that the peer trainers themselves had been through the process. They were talking from the heart.

Writing is a sensual act. The physical putting pen to paper. It releases that inner turmoil.

Writing has almost overwhelmed my life, in a good way. It’s given me freedom of expression. Writing is one of the most important things in my life now.

I enjoyed and benefited from my experience of the Recovery College, the association with the students and learning of their mental health issues. I went there having suffered from acute anxiety – I’d had a year of trauma.

We’re all trying to recover – this is what we’re trying to do. What I found really supportive was that the peer trainers themselves had been through the process. They were talking from the heart.

If you can understand other people’s problems, then you’re better able to understand your own. And what I found very enlightening was the freedom with which people expressed their feelings

I took a course in ‘Life Writing’ – the aim was to produce a memoir. It was very informative, very progressive. In the course the opportunity to talk about your mental health challenges was there – you could just unburden yourself. It was very open.

My acute anxiety reduced – it put my problems into better perspective when measured against people’s really deep challenges. It’s made me a better person I think.

It’s improved my relationships with people. What has changed for me is the recognition that you can’t recognise what other people’s innermost thoughts are. You can’t tell from looking, you don’t know what people are suffering. I realised you can tread on people’s sensitivities so easily.

I’m recovering from bereavement. Being able to be active in community life has been essential, like therapy. So many people close the door and surrender to their grief. I’ve gone out and involved myself. It’s better being in the Recovery College than in the pub.

Delivered as a partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Brighton and Hove Recovery College uses education in a supportive learning environment to help people with mental health challenges become experts in their own self-care and recovery. Courses on offer include ‘Poetry for Recovery’, ‘Introduction to Hoarding’ and ‘Recovery and Self-Discovery Through Art’.