S35: Supporting Our Storytelling

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Aimee Sinclair

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Lived Experience, Recovery,Community, Culture, Society

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Lived experience storytelling is a vital component to mental health reform and needs to be supported appropriately to ensure we are ‘embracing change’ and not replicating ‘traditional illness management’ through its use.

This paper will weave together my lived experience of ‘sharing my story’ and my un-ease around the sector’s use of ‘lived experience storytelling’, with findings from my PhD literature review on storytelling as an act of resistance and recovery.

My journey begins as I attempt to hold the tensions involved with allowing individuals to tell their story where they are at and respecting one’s right to differing perspectives, whilst also critiquing stories that are colonised. How do I/we recognise agency (lived experience) whilst also recognising oppression?

Through struggling with these complexities, I critique emerging practices within the mental health sector that ‘capitalise’ on lived experience storytelling, and/or silence alternative ways of existing within a neo-liberalist, patriarchal society.

How can we make space for the process of resistance and recovery through storytelling without contributing to dominance and discrimination? This paper will suggest ways in which storytelling can be supported by the sector so that it remains connected to the consumer movement and facilitates resistance as a form of recovery.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Audience members will gain an understanding of some of the complexities of organisation’s using lived experience storytelling as a form of promotion, and ideas for supporting storytelling that facilitates recovery and alternative ways of understanding.

Learning Objective 2: As mental health services continue to move towards embracing lived experience knowledge, and the use of lived experience stories, it is important services have an understanding of the issues and complexities involved to ensure we are ‘embracing change’ and not replicating ‘traditional illness management’.

Fisher, P., & Freshwater, D. (2014). Methodology and Mental Illness: Resistance and Restorying. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 21, 197-205.
Altenberger, I., & Mackay, R. (2006). What matters with personal narratives: An exploration as to how personal narratives are used in the promotion of recovery and social inclusion by mental health service users in Scotland. Retrieved from http://lx.iriss.org.uk/sites/default/files/resources/what%20matters.pdf

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