Hello, my name is Debs. I am an award winning independent consultant and facilitator using my lived experience of mental health services, along with many years working in mental health in the NHS, and my MSc in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion to promote, educate and facilitate awareness of what it's like to be in that system, as well as working on solutions for change and supporting creative approaches to recovery.
I found creativity by chance: I started drawing in December 2011 after reaching a crisis point in my mental health and being told that I would always be "ill, medicated and never work again" by a "professional" who was in charge of my care. I started painting soon after and am thoroughly addicted to the way art frees the mind. Having discovered a previously hidden talent I can only now fully appreciate the true therapeutic power of creativity.
I now actively promote the power of creativity, whilst emphasising that recovery in mental heath does not necessarily mean recovered, that recovery can mean different things to everyone and that we need to focus on recovery as living the best life we can, sometimes, whilst still living with the labels. I also advocate the use of lived experience/peer support in a solution focused way of wellness not illness.
I facilitate KUF (knowledge and Understanding Framework) training for multi-agency staff and the criminal justice system to better understand people with complex emotional needs/personality difficulties. I want an understanding that people are more than their labels, diagnosis or patient number and for everyone to be seen and treat holistically. I always felt I never had a voice or a choice in my care so I advocate that others are given that choice, even if the chose not to use it.
I am Trustee for the National Centre for Creative Health. I am part of the steering group for Social Prescribing Network. I am patient ambassador for College of Medicine and Integrated Health