Monthly Archives: December 2017

Happy holidays

Dear readers, contributors and casual blog browsers,

As we come to the end of another fantastic year for the blog I would like to thank you for all your support. The blog has received some fantastic content throughout 2017 and as always it’s been great to have so many people sharing their experiences, research, views and opinions. Have a brilliant festive season and I look forward to sharing some great new content with you in January.


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Happy holidays!

Katherine Dyke

(IMH blog editor)


PS- if you fancy writing a piece for the IMH blog it would be great to hear from you! Find out more here


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The RECOLLECT project – A lived experience perspective 2017

In February 2017, a group of academics, researchers and “Lived experience” volunteers came together to explore the character, dynamic and outcomes of recovery colleges. The volunteers came from Leicester, London and Brighton, and were made up of people who had experienced mental health illness and attended a college, a carer of a person using the college and someone of mental ill health who had chosen to currently not attend a college. The group endeavoured through literature review, energetic discussion and challenge, to understand what a recovery college was, what and how it delivered learning experiences for those people experiencing mental ill health, and the longer term outcomes for all those involved in the recovery college community.

We agreed to meet 4 times in the year, and in the true spirit of co-leadership, thrashed out a meaningful and descriptive concept of recovery colleges that could reflect both academically relevant information and valuable real life experience. Our group fostered active listening, respectful argument and an openness and honesty that gave an authentic voice to our subsequent papers. The uniqueness of all the participants – academic and not, made a truly kaleidoscopic experience which we all hope will encourage you to learn more and get involved in recovery colleges yourself.

Written by Emma Munday – Bipolar, slightly old, human.


We jelled from the start

The group together

Our experience we pooled

Lived experience

Lived experience

Our knowledge coalesced

Thoughts and feelings


Used for research

Lived experience






Giving inner strength

Sense of self worth


Common goals

Coalescing thought

Together with

Lived experience



Poem written by Jane, who said, ‘I have been a mental health service user for most of my life and have suffered with bipolar disorder. I have found that being involved in the RECOLLECT project has been informative, useful and empowering to me.  I have enjoyed meeting with people with a common goal and talking and working together has been a lovely experience.


The RECOLLECT study has been based at the Institute of Mental Health, funded by a Programme Development Grant from the National Institute for Health Research and led by Professor Mike Slade. Emma and Jane wrote their respective contributions to this blog after participating in all four meetings of the Lived Experience Advisory Group to support the delivery of RECOLLECT. You can find out more by contacting Peter Bates, PPI lead at the Institute of Mental Health or emailing

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