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.
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!
The "Writing Towards Recovery" group is guided by the framework that we can all benefit from writing as form of therapeutic expression. Each group starts with a 10 minute free-write where individuals are encouraged to write non-stop about anything and everything that comes to mind, as a sort of cleansing ritual that readies the participant for the challenges ahead.
The rest of the group is a combination of focused writing prompts and sharing among the group. The prompts range from creative, to non-fiction, from poetry to group-thinks. All participants are encouraged to share their writing, though no one will be forced if they feel uncomfortable. While it's not mandatory to share each time, the group is a safe space where sharing is an integral part of the process.
The ultimate goal of the group is to create an environment where participants feel motivated to write, journal, and share their words outside of the group and within the space of their own lives.