We have been chatting to Fran about her experiences of mental ill health, recovery, and using her lived experiences to support other people.
Fran has recently joined Mental Health Concern as a course facilitator for the Kind Mind Community recovery college in South Tyneside, where she helps to design and promote courses for students.
Mental Health Concern is proud to lead Kind Mind Community, which offers free, recovery-focused courses and activities designed to help people manage their mental health and improve their wellbeing.
In 2018, Fran experienced a mental health crisis but has since begun her journey towards recovery. Fran has found support along the way through services such as the ARCH recovery college in Durham.
Fran explains that she loves learning and, although she was initially nervous, absolutely loved taking courses at the recovery college. Out of the many courses she studied, Fran’s favorite course was ‘Positive Psychology’ which delves into the science of happiness. This course is also taught at Kind Mind Community.
Through her experience at a recovery college, Fran was able to gain volunteering experience which boosted her self-confidence. So much so, that after three years away from employment, Fran felt confident enough to take steps towards returning to work.
When she saw the job description for her current role at Mental Health Concern, Fran thought ‘If I could have written a job description for me, this would be it!’.
Fran explains that she was drawn to the role because of how varied and exciting it sounded. Not only does she facilitate courses, but Fran is also involved in marketing and has plenty of opportunity to use her fantastic communication skills.
Fran also enjoys her ‘team huddles’ every morning, which her two dogs usually join her for, as she finds that it stops working from home from feeling isolating. Fran feels very comfortable in her team and is able to open up to them about her own experiences where she feels this can be used to help educate others. Fran’s experiences as a service user gives her a unique insight into our services, which helps us to improve the support we provide.
Fran also believes that her insight and lived experience is hugely helpful in her role, because it is important to be able to truly relate to the people she helps. Fran explains that to be able to tell the people she supports that she understands how they’re feeling, because she went through similar experiences herself is invaluable.
We asked Fran how it feels to now be able to support others with their recovery journey, and she explained that knowing that her experiences of mental ill-health are being used to help others in the future ‘makes the dark days worth it’.
For more information about The Kind Mind Community and the courses they offer, visit their website.