Welcome to the Western Mass Recovering Learning Community
The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) supports healing and empowerment for our broader communities and people who have been impacted by psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme states, homelessness, addiction and other life-interrupting challenges through:
- Peer-to-peer support & genuine human relationships
- Alternative Healing Practices
- Learning Opportunities
Essential to our work is recognizing and undoing systemic injustices such as racism, sexism, transphobia and psychiatric oppression.
The 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, three resource centers (Springfield, Greenfield, and Holyoke) 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.
The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community is funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the United Way of Franklin County, and a variety of private foundations and donations.
Addiction issues and struggles with substance abuse are huge in our community right now. If you’re someone who’s struggling and looking for support, check out one of these options:
Winding Road Support Group: Thursdays, 1p-2p @ the RLC’s Holyoke Center, 187 High Street, Suite 303. Join members of the community as we gather in a supportive, non-judgmental way to discuss and share around issues regarding addictions, healing, and coping along life’s path. All are welcome.
In Springfield, although we do not currently offer RLC-sponsored groups specifically related to addiction and substance use, there are both Narcotics Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics groups in the area.
In Greenfield, be sure to check out the RECOVER Project at 74 Federal Street (just a few doors down from the RLC’s Greenfield Center). RECOVER Project is a peer-to-peer community focused on addiction issues and offers a number of related supports including a Dual Recovery meeting (call them for details at 413-774-5489).
Want to get trained to use Narcan? Narcan is a potentially life-saving drug that can help stop a narcotics overdose from becoming fatal. Anyone can be trained to use Narcan through a simple, short training. In our area, Tapestry Health offers this training for free. Call them at 413.586.2016 to learn where you can go for this training and a free dose of Narcan to carry with you. Help be a part of saving someone’s life!
Holiday Potluck: Friday, December 18th, 4 to 6pm, @ the RLC’s Greenfield Center, 74 Federal Street:
Join the community for connection and nourishment at the darkest time of the year. The RLC Greenfield Center team will be bringing a roast turkey, roasted root vegetables, and other delicious foods. Bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. You may also bring a song, piece of art, or poem to share. Or, just bring yourself! All are welcome.
Holiday Dessert Potluck: Thursday, December 24th, 1 to 4pm, @ the RLC’s Holyoke Center, 187 High Street, Suite 303:
Fruits, sweets, nuts, hot chocolate, coffee, tea and good cheer will be shared today in a relaxed atmosphere with our community. Come by and say hello. Bring a dessert item to share if you are able. (The Bowen Center in Springfield will be closed on this date so that everyone can join in on the festivities in Holyoke!)
New Years Eve Movie and Light Refreshments: Thursday December 31st , 3 to 6pm, @ the RLC’s Pittsfield Center, 152 North Street, Suite 230:
Spend time with other community members to celebrate the years end. Call the center at 413.236.5888 for more details!
First Night Celebration: Thursday, December 31st @ First Night, Northampton: See page 3 of our full newsletter for details!
PLEASE NOTE: Our December holiday gatherings are not meant to support any one holiday tradition over another. All are welcome, and encouraged to share your traditions with others in the community!
Community Gives Week begins TODAY, Monday, November 16th and runs through Sunday, November 22nd.
Any donations that come in today to our Yourcaring.com fundraising page will be in the running for a $100 Darden gift card good for use at Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and more!* (Stay tuned each day of Community Gives Week to learn the prize for that day!)
The mission of Community Gives Week is to save the RLC's Greenfield Center which is slated to lose its funding as of the end of the calendar year. (Any amounts raised over and above what is needed to keep the center running will go toward expansion of supports which may include additional open hours, bridging and connection building with individuals at the local partial and inpatient hospital units, and so on.)
If you haven't already seen it, be sure to take a look at our short video about Greenfield and all that we're trying to save:
And don't forget to join us at today's kick off open house and concert event! (See more details here!)
*Please note: Donations of any amount are welcome and will be included in the running for the above stated prize. There is only one $100 gift card available, and so there will be only one winner drawn from all donations given for the stated period of time. The winner will be selected by random draw on the following day and notified by e-mail. Additionally, anyone who donated between November 1 and November 15 will also be counted as in the running for Day 1's prize. Donations made in person, by mail or by any method other than the Youcaring page are very much welcome and appreciated, but will not be considered for the prize drawing. Donations can be made by mail to Western Mass RLC, 187 High Street, Suite 202, Holyoke, MA, 01040. Please be sure to note 'for the Greenfield Center' on the memo line and make all checks payable to our umbrella, the Western Mass Training Consortium.)
- in person (at any of our centers)
- by mail (to 187 High Street, Suite 202, Holyoke, MA 01040)
- through our new fundraising page at www.yourcaring.com/SavetheRLCsGreenfieldCenter
Please note that our centers will be closed and most groups and activities cancelled on Monday, November 23 and Tuesday November 24 due to an All-Team 2-day training.
Please see our calendar (click here) to check on specific groups and activities to see if they will be running or not!
As of September 15, H.R. 2646 (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis’ Act or ‘The Murphy Bill’) had 118 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including 83 Republics and 35 Democrats.
Meanwhile, Representative Tim Murphy continues to make the rounds, taking advantage of tragedy to push the bill’s regressive reforms which include:
- Re-directing funds from community supports to an increase in hospitalization and institutionalization
- Increasing the use of force (for example, Involuntary Outpatient Commitment [also referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT]) which allows for people to be required to take psychiatric medications, attend therapy, attend day programs, etc. at threat of loss of freedom if they refuse)
- Increasing controls on and limiting the use and impact of peer supporters
- Decreasing access to advocacy and rights supports provided through places such as the Disability Law Center
- Loosening privacy protections so that personal information can be much more easily disclosed to family members and others who identify as ‘care providers’
Have you spoken to your state Representative? Even Representatives who have already signed on as co-sponsors are able to withdraw their names, so it’s worth speaking to them either way.
Click "Read more" below for some ideas of things to say!