SRN National Gathering

The last time I had been at Murrayfield Stadium, was back in September and I was on my bike.  Murrayfield had been the finish point for “Pedal for Scotland” a public cycle event from Glasgow to Edinburgh.  This time around, my legs didn’t ache and there was no lycra in sight.

Instead, I was there, not for the Rugby, but for the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) 2013 Gathering, an event for people who use, or work in mental health services. SRN was launched in 2004 to raise awareness of recovery from mental health problems.

I was warmly welcomed by the SRN staff, dressed in a very fetching orange and totally unmissable T-shirts.  They readily answered my questions and pointed me in the right direction for all the action and most importantly coffee.

The morning was busy and the atmosphere was soon buzzing.  The warm up exercise led by the Kinharvie Institute got us all talking and mixing with each other.  It felt good to meet new people and having taken the first step of talking to “strangers” but in a safe place, it increased my confidence and made it much easier during the day to chat to new people over lunch and in the discussion groups.

The 6 speakers using the PechaKucha presentation technique, showing 20 slides in 5 minutes was very good.  They gave their vision for recovery in 2020.  There were lots of pictures of brains but also a shared view amongst them that recovery is a life journey not a destination – without being an expert that felt right to me.

Dr Rachel Perkins OBE, was the keynote speaker, giving a highly engaging and entertaining presentation.  She talked from her experience as someone who has considerable experience in planning and delivering, but also being in receipt of mental health services.  She was clear that if we are to promote recovery further, the way services are delivered would need to be changed, shifting the balance of power towards individuals and communities, and encouraging more inclusive communities.  She said “we must have control over the support we need to make the most of our talents and our lives”.   That sounds like a good vision for the future to me.

I’ve yet to see any Rugby at Murrayfield, there is always next year of course, giving me something to look forward to, and I will definitely be back for the next SRN Gathering.  Hope to see you there too.

Story by Community Reporter

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