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Karen's Story - written for the 'Critical Mental Health Nurses Network'

What led you to decide to be a mental health nurse? What attracted you to the role? Where did you train and when?

I spent most of my childhood wanting to be an actress, but at 19 decided this wasn’t to be my path. After three years of different jobs I saw an advert for psychiatric nursing students, thought that it sounded different, applied and got accepted.

I started training in Coney Hill Hospital on April 30th 1984. It was certificate training and I was paid a wage right from the start. We had six weeks of induction in the nursing school and then went straight onto acute wards for 16 weeks. We weren’t supernumerary and were expected to work like everyone else. I loved it straight away, yes there was lots to change, but I felt at home and madness didn’t scare me.

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Posted: 23/06/2015 11:38:17 by Jim Campbell
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"Working to Recovery" Summer Recovery Camp 2015

About a year ago, my partner Ron Coleman said to me lets have a recovery camp, I said what’s one of those and he said I am not sure but lets invent it.

We talked for many hours, we looked at our recovery houses and took aspects of our learning from these.  It should be in a beautiful environment, the day time should have a structure that allowed for time together as a big group, with smaller workshop spaces, we wanted a relaxed but busy atmosphere, which built energy and sense of purpose.  We wanted it to have the same feel as our past conferences - a safe place, cutting edge themes, a place where dialogue happens between workers, family members and people with lived experience, but without the formality of a conference.  We wanted it to have an international feel, a coming together of different perspectives and a place where people could be creative.
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Posted: 17/06/2015 11:10:07 by Jim Campbell
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Final Countdown Interrupted - Ron's Reflections

This should have been the final blog of the three-month recovery house project in Italy, but it might not be.  Instead it could be the first blog at the beginning of at least a three-year recovery house program.

I moved into the house on the 31st July this year to take over from Paul Baker (see previous blog) by this time temperatures' had reached the high 30 degrees centigrade and it was truly hot.  All of our meetings, meals, one to one sessions and family meetings were being held under the tree in the garden.  The meetings were also heating up as we realized that time was catching up on us and there was still a lot of work that needed done.  Having met most of the clients before the project, I was amazed at how far some of them had moved forward, and at the same time was dismayed by the lack of progress of others.....
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Posted: 28/10/2013 00:08:35 by Global Administrator
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The Second month of the Faenza Recovery House - Paul's Story

Paul Baker tells of his experience of living and working for a month at the Faenza Recovery House in July 2013:

I arrived at the Faenza Recovery House on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon at the end of June, to take over from Karen, the role of recovery mentor to the guests and workers for the second month of the three month long Recovery house project....
 
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Posted: 18/08/2013 00:12:59 by Global Administrator
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Back from the Italian Recovery House

I have been back from the Italian Recovery House for a few days, physically I have gone from temperatures of 31C to 12C, I am back in my own bed with my family around me as they are all on school holidays - but where is my head and heart?....
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Posted: 07/07/2013 00:15:38 by Global Administrator
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"What happens in the Recovery House?"

"What happens in the Recovery House?", a question everybody asks - but is actually incredibly difficult to answer. There is definitely a process, a journey going on for each guest - but equally I personally feel as though I am on the journey too.  Each new guest unearths unanswered questions for myself - this is not just a place for others to do self discovery....
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Posted: 13/01/2013 00:44:26 by Global Administrator
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Reflections of 2012

As I reflect on 2012 I realise how wonderfully lucky I am.  I have health, an amazing family, good friends and incredible connections with people all around the world.  Turning 50 has again made me stop and think about who I am and what I want from this life, the search for meaning and purpose is so strong....
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Posted: 16/12/2012 00:52:37 by Global Administrator
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Reflections from New York

It's been a reflective couple of months for me. I lost both my maternal grandparents within 10 days of each other, they were both 91. I was very close to my grandmother, spending many school holidays staying with them in Frampton on Severn a beautiful village in Gloucestershire....
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Posted: 25/04/2012 00:55:20 by Global Administrator
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Recovery and all that jazz

Hi to everyone who reads my blog, those of you who came to our recovery champions courses in the last few months, will know my passion is jazz singing and that Ron had bought me for Christmas a 5 day jazz singing course in the south of France. Well I finally did it a couple of weeks ago & it was amazing, in fact the way the week was set up it felt like I was a participant on a recovery champions course! But my singing improved & I met some wonderful muscians....
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Posted: 11/09/2011 00:59:22 by Global Administrator
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Working to recovery is a passion & its our life

Working to recovery as those of you that know Ron & I is more than just a business, it’s a passion & its our life. I think both of us are totally driven to changing the way mental health care is delivered....
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Posted: 30/05/2011 01:02:35 by Global Administrator
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The future looks very bright

I have now been in Australia for almost 9 weeks. It is definitely becoming a place we know almost as well as the UK. In fact talking to locals we realize we have travelled more extensively around Australia than most Australians. That is also true for us back in the UK , there are not many towns in the UK that either Ron or I haven’t been...
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Posted: 09/05/2011 01:03:41 by Global Administrator
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A happy Yuletide from Ron & I on this winter solstice

was up this morning to watch the moon eclipse with my friend Seppi, we dressed up warm & sat in her garden with a cup of tea watching the moon gradually disappear. I even saw a shooting star, then with less than a quarter of a moon to go a big black cloud came and sat across the moon and that was the end of eclipse watching for us....
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Posted: 28/12/2010 01:04:57 by Global Administrator
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I’ve been avoiding writing this blog for a while, 18th November 2010

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog for a while, since coming back from Australia I have been immersed in being a mum and looking after the croft & organizing Ron’s trip to America & Canada. I feel a bit like a single parent, Ron has hardly been home, we had a brief period together in France but that was mainly working and our main conversations have been in the van on the way & back from the airport. He is travelling everywhere on crutches due to a hip problem which is giving him a lot of pain, but I arranged a punishing schedule for him & Paul on their trip to North America.
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Posted: 30/11/2010 01:06:47 by Global Administrator
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Was I really away?

I’ve been back at home 2 weeks now, was I really away? I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia. The People I have been privileged to work with were brilliant. It is true what they say about Australians they are great company, laid back, friendly & open, love a good debate and very social justice focussed. I had to work hard, think hard and be very creative.
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Posted: 17/09/2010 01:08:01 by Global Administrator
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Monday, August 16, 2010

I cant believe the summer is nearly over, it has been so busy on the island, we’ve had 29 piglets, new geese, ducks & chicks, the vegetable garden was worked on nearly every day, + a fantastic 10th wedding anniversary weekend which saw all our kids together for the first time since Ron’s 50th birthday and we have kept the Working to Recovery rolling along through this bleak time for mental health services in the UK....
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Posted: 16/08/2010 01:09:26 by Global Administrator
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July 2010 - Wedding Anniversary and 12 new piglets

Ron & I are finally taking a well- earned break from training & concentrating on our kids & the croft this month.

This is just as well as on the 1st of July which was our 10th wedding anniversary our big pig “Spotty” gave birth to 12 beautiful piglets and this weekend our other big pig “Pinky” has given birth to 9. So we are going to be very busy over the next 8 weeks...
 
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Posted: 30/07/2010 01:10:41 by Global Administrator
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Australia
Ron & I have had a very busy time in Australia over the last month or so, running 3 Recovery Champions courses in Perth, Canberra & Tasmania. This was all return business as feedback from previous courses in each of these areas has been so positive....
 
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Posted: 08/05/2010 01:13:45 by Global Administrator
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Recovery Champions course

2011
We have set dates for the next Recovery Champions course in Stroud for March 21st to 25th 2011. Put the date in your diary now, information will be up on the website soon, we may also put on an autumn course 2010, unfortumately the Stroud venue was full, so any suggestions for a venue or place in the UK let us know
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Posted: 08/05/2010 01:11:57 by Global Administrator
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28th April 2010: We have created 1000 Recovery champions


I cant believe we already into our last week in Australia, well for the kids & Me , Ron is here for another 6 weeks.
 
2 more champions courses under our belt one in Perth & the other just completed in Canberra. Both courses successful, another 48 recovery champions. We must have created  at least a 1000 champions in the last few years , that is quite awe-inspiring.   Hopefully kick started a few recovery journeys and planted seeds for many others.
 
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Posted: 28/04/2010 01:17:11 by Global Administrator
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The Weeks are whizzing by

The weeks are whizzing by, the Stroud recovery champion’s course was really good to be part of.  The venue was fantastic, beautiful views and gardens, lovely ambience; food was gorgeous, put on about half a stone.  The participants were challenging, engaged and by the end of the week champing at the bit to return to their services & start some changes.  One women in particular had her light bulb moment on the last day, it was truly wonderful to watch her suddenly release all the pent up negativity of working in a system that had demoralized her thrown away as she realized that recovery was possible including her own.
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Posted: 22/03/2010 17:53:57 by Jim Campbell
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I've had a busy few weeks...

I’ve had a busy few weeks.  For those of you that have met me you will know that I am passionate about singing and would love to be an accomplished jazz singer.  My journey came one step nearer a couple of weekends ago when I took part in a special weekend workshop in Edinburgh, which was my Christmas present from Ron.  The weekend was with singer Sophie Bancroft her partner on double bass Tom Lynne and pianist Paul Harrison, fantastic musicians, a brilliant singing tutor and only 4 students.  It was a wonderful weekend I learnt so much and to sing with some of the best Scottish musicians was very emotional – thanks Ron for believing in me.
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Posted: 10/03/2010 18:09:43 by Jim Campbell
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Check out our Sale!

It‘s your last opportunity this week to purchase training packs, DVDs and books at greatly reduced prices sale ends on 15th March. Details here.

The last round of Setting up and Running Hearing Voices Groups training went well, the meetings in Swansea and Bangor, Wales were well attended and thanks to sponsorship from a Welsh benefactor a further two workshops will be held in Wales in June on the 29th and 30th, we will also be running a workshop in York on the 1st July.
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Posted: 10/03/2010 18:04:55 by Jim Campbell
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I have been in semi hibernation up here on the croft

Its weeks since I wrote my last blog.  I have been in semi hibernation up here on the croft.  I kept thinking must write my blog then something else would be more important.  Ron and I have enjoyed an extended rest period over Christmas.  Ron in particular had worked non-stop for weeks including his Australian trip, so was near exhaustion.  Now its time to get going again, not that I have been sitting idle in Lewis, we have taken on 12 weaners so my time has been busily filled looking after them.  Ron is of to Denmark on Tuesday, returning to work at the “castle” and looking forward to meeting up with old friends.
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Posted: 18/01/2010 18:17:42 by Jim Campbell
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Ron is back in Australia

Ron is back in Australia, he has been there a week now and has returned to Tasmania to help start up their hearing voices network and to train the staff across the island in working with voices.  We will both returning there in April next year to run a further making recovery happen course and some management training. 
Tasmania’s services both NGO’s and health service, have made a real commitment to developing recovery based services for people in mental distress. 
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Posted: 14/11/2009 18:25:06 by Jim Campbell
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Bring home the importance of strong networks

One of the evidence-based sign that someone’s recovery journey is sustainable is having a good social network and strong family network.  A few things in the last couple of weeks have brought this home to me.  Firstly having a girlfriend I can occasionally travel with to explore mutual interests like New Grange led to a very energising weekend in Ireland, which made me feel 20 years younger, it also left me longing to see old friends.  Last Friday I drove down from the island in one go with Rory and Francesca to Gloucestershire to visit my parents.  The kids were great considering we had all got up at 5am to catch the early ferry and didn’t arrive in until 9.15pm. 
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Posted: 20/10/2009 18:28:10 by Jim Campbell
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A Spiritual Quest...

At last some leisure time, Seppi my friend from Lewis and I had a whole weekend to explore county Meath & County Louth in Ireland, before I worked in Ardee for 2 days last Monday and Tuesday.

We had planned the visit as we had been told about New Grange but to have a whole weekend of visiting sacred and historical sites with out kids was amazing.  To take time, read all the signs, feel the silence was food for the soul, then to have the evenings - Guinness, good red wine and fine Irish cuisine staying in a posh hotel thanks to an upgrade with priority club was sublime.
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Posted: 08/10/2009 18:34:55 by Jim Campbell
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