Cairdeas were delighted to be invited to attend the ARI Learning Set and ‘Brag and Steal’ event in the Seven Oaks hotel in Carlow. ARI stands for Advancing Recovery in Ireland and is a HSE initiative to make mental health services more recovery-focused. https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/mental-health-services/advancingrecoveryireland/
We met early in Bray and went in the people carrier down to Carlow. Eoin brought some CDs which we listened to on the way there. We had a nice drive as it was a beautiful sunny day and arrived at the Seven Oaks Hotel before 10am. We set up our stand and sat down for the start of the conference.
We then manned our stand for the brag and steal. We gave out lots of leaflets, talked about Cairdeas and the clubhouse model and displayed our new poster for the event which we put a lot of work into. There were plenty of people interested in the clubhouse and some people were interested in how to set up a clubhouse in their area. We also represented EVE services at the event and Ronan spoke about them and provided material to people. We also got to look at the other stands and speak to the people there and get information and leaflets from their services.
After the brag and steal we went to a workshop regarding personal stories and how to go about writing one. The presenter’s personal stories were interesting to hear. Personal stories are a very powerful way to promote recovery and positive mental health.
We broke for lunch, Eoin and Ronan had beef and I had vegetable curry.
After lunch we were all transformed into a choir by Sam the conductor from the Wicklow Choir group. This was really fun and sounded great – over 150 people singing together and it raised everyone’s spirits for the afternoon.
The second workshop we attended was all about recovery, what recovery means and how to obtain it. We heard from a consultant who said they were moving away from focusing on symptoms and treating them to focusing on the person which was refreshing to hear.
We finished up with some closing presentations and headed back to Bray. The event was very worthwhile and we went home tired but happy.
Emmet and Ronan