Welcome to the Western Mass Recovering Learning Community
The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) creates conditions that support healing and growth for individuals and the community as a whole through learning opportunities, advocacy, peer-to-peer support and the development of regional and national networks. We believe that human relationships are often at the center of what heal people who have experienced extreme emotional distress, trauma, psychiatric diagnoses, addiction and a variety of other challenges in life. We also believe that we are a part of a civil and human rights movement and that real change does not happen on a sustainable level unless everyone is involved in the process and issues like discrimination, poverty, imbalances of power and acceptance of natural diversity are addressed.
The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) is made up of PEOPLE (not places) and is wherever and however YOU and others from the community may choose to connect. Together, we offer a variety of events, workshops, trainings, advocacy and leadership councils, as well as a peer support line, four resource centers (Springfield, Greenfield, Holyoke and Pittsfield) and a Peer Respite in Northampton. Above all else, we create space for anyone who has a genuine interest in taking part in our community and holding its values to share and find connection, information, ideas and opportunities to make change in their own lives and/or the community around them. Our shared experiences and ‘humanness’ are what unite us. Our stories, collective wisdom and strength are what guide us and our community forward.
Have you checked out psresources.info?
This website was developed in the fall of 2014 and offers a growing number of resources, including articles relevant to peer-to-peer support, helpful on-line links, and - most importantly - free downloads of a new Handbook on Peer Roles.
Side 1: The Provider’s Handbook on Developing & Implementing Peer Roles:
This side of the book - geared toward people in provider roles - was developed by Lyn Legere in partnership with the Western Mass RLC and Western Mass Peer Network.
Side 2: A Handbook for Individuals Working in Peer Roles:
This side of the book-geared toward people working in peer roles-was developed by the Western Mass RLC and Western Mass Peer Network.
Between the two sides, topics include: Job descriptions, hiring, supervision issues, identifying what is and isn’t a task of a peer role, language, navigating the tricky waters of being a change agent, history of peer roles, and much, much more!
Be sure to check out www.psresources.info for more!
| Saturday, March 14, 1 to 4pm
Holyoke Library, 250 Chestnut Street
Given that 1) people of color experience abuse and discrimination everywhere in society and 2) we are a predominantly white community in a country with a 500-year history of brutality and discrimination specifically targeting black, indigenous and other non-white people, it feels essential that we come together to explore these issues as a community, including:
- How can we expand our understanding of what it means to be “trauma-informed” to better include the lived experience of those targeted by racial violence and oppression?
- How does racism manifest in the psychiatric system and in our own healing communities?
We've completed a 25-minute film about Afiya and the concept of peer respite, and it’s available for viewing online any time of the day or night at www.afiyahouse.org!
Topics covered in the film include:
- A brief history of peer respite
- Myths & Misconceptions
- A bit about Afiya house (how long you can stay, etc.)
- A personal story of someone who has stayed at the house
In August of 2013, Eleanor took much of the world by storm with her 14-minute Ted Talk, ‘The Voices in My Head.’ What she shared about her own experience and how she’s come to understand and make meaning of it has helped challenge many myths and media-driven misconceptions of what it means to hear voices.
In April, Eleanor will travel from the United Kingdom to join us in New England to share her story and interact with audiences throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Although some details are still being finalized, here’s what we know:
Get a preview by watching Eleanor’s
Ted Talk here:youtu.be/syjEN3peCJw
While hearing voices is a relatively common human experience and not necessarily linked to distress, for some people it can be part of an overwhelming experience that can - for a time, at least, dominate their lives. While we often focus on the experience of the person going through this themselves, we don’t always give enough space for the friends and family members who may ill be equipped to walk alongside their loved one in their time of crisis. Though everyone is different, many friends and family members talk about feeling stuck in a maze without a map - desperately wanting to do the best for their loved one, but worried that what they say - or do - may make things worse.
This one-day workshop provides a supportive space for people to come together with others who know what it’s like to support someone through intense experiences. It will explore: different ways of making sense of voices, visions and overwhelming experiences; the impact of these experiences on friends, family & other loved ones; navigating conversations around unusual beliefs & experiences; practical ways of supporting a loved one through a crisis; coping strategies; steps towards ‘recovery’, self-care and knowing our own limits.
This workshop is free and open to anyone who identifies as ‘friend or family’ of someone with these experiences.
- Update to the Five Fundamental Rights Bill: Fresh Air Bill Passed!
- Hearing Voices Events this Spring
- ALERT: Update on Forced Outpatient Commitment in Massachusetts
- On-Line Continuing Education Credits for Doctors & Clinicians: Mad in America
- New Alternatives to Suicide Group in Pittsfield
- Hearing Voices Applications Due February 2nd!