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.
This training is based on the principles of our ‘Alternatives to Suicide’ groups and the wisdom of so many people who themselves have struggled with how and if to stay in this world. The training focuses on sitting with difficult conversations, exploring our own feelings and fears that rise up when trying to do so, and supporting those who are struggling to make meaning of and move through those darkest times.
This training is open to providers, people working in peer roles, friends and family members, and anyone else interested in learning more. We’ve had great responses to the trainings we’ve offered so far. Here are a few comments from previous participants:
- “It was so very good it inspired me to be involved with this process - a truly important and needed training. It should be mandatory.”
- “It was amazing. It gave me confidence to handle difficult conversations with compassion and curiosity.”
- “Excellent, really liked the fact the facilitators were very personal in sharing their experiences and how we practiced the techniques and were able to discuss each one after practice!! Thanks so much this training was very helpful.”
The Alternatives to Suicide approach was developed by the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (RLC) in 2009 as one of the only peer-to-peer approaches that truly focuses on the topic of suicide rather than assessment and risk. Trainings and workshops on this approach have also been offered in Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Wisconsin, and beyond (including France and Australia!). We hope that you will consider joining us for this great two-day training opportunity.
PLEASE NOTE: Although this training is based on the ‘Alternatives to Suicide’ approach and includes information drawn from that, this training is not the same as the three-day Alternatives to Suicide Facilitator training and is not intended to prepare people to facilitate groups.
Monday April 10th and Tuesday April 11th
9:30am - 4:30pm
Shire City Sanctuary, 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield
This workshop will look at how to support someone who has unusual beliefs, or what often gets called "paranoia". It will focus on exploring a person's belief system to understand it from their perspective, and how to reduce any negative impact on quality of life without trying to take away what's meaningful or useful. Participants will also learn how the three stages of voice hearing apply differently with experiences of this nature, and will explore how to decode beliefs to build understanding.
We will be applying for Continuing Education credits for LCSW's and LMHC's.
Registration is required.
The fee is $100 per person (scholarships/reduced cost available).
Western Mass RLC
187 High Street, Suite 202
Holyoke, MA 01040
Space is limited!
Some of our spaces and events will not be available due to the storm. Check our Cancellations and Closures page for the latest details. You may also want to make a note of our cancellation phone line information (413.539.5941 ext. 314 or toll free 866.641.2853 ext. 314) for times when you will not be near a computer.
Holyoke: Closed (no open hours or groups)
Greenfield: Acupuncture is cancelled
Although we know it’s been slow going, we’re hopeful that we’ll make some progress with getting the RLC’s Greenfield Center back to fully usable early this New Year. We’re working hard, and in the mean time check out our calendar and all the groups and events still happening almost every day of the week!
The construction is almost done! Our group meeting room is almost ready for full use, the shower is almost ready for its first… shower, and we’re even almost done painting (well, the main rooms)! It’s taken us way longer to get to this point then we’d hoped, but we’re so excited to see the space really taking shape. Come check it out if you haven’t already, at 235 Chestnut Street.
As some may have heard, we are also planning a move for our Holyoke Center. Although there’s much sentimental attachment to the space we are in now (it was, after all, our very first center to open back in 2007), it’s just not as usable as it used to be. The elevator frequently doesn’t work, we’ve had problems with the front door access, and that along with some other developments have just led to the space we’re in not getting used as much as we’d like. Initially, we’d been thinking we’d try to move over the winter, but things are just a bit too chaotic right now, so we’re aiming for the summer. We’ll be looking for a space that is (ideally) a store front with easier access and hopefully more flexible space! Let us know if you have ideas about what you’d like the new space to look like or offer.
We're writing a new proposal for the RLC!
As of January 12, 2017, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) has released the Recovery Learning Community contracts for bid across the state.
What does this mean overall? DMH is saying that they will be funding 5 Recovery Learning Communities across the state (reduced from 6). Any group that is authorized as a ‘DMH Vendor’ (i.e., an organization that is able to accept DMH contracts) is eligible to bid on one or more of the RLC contracts. Each ‘bid’ most speak to how that group will use DMH funds and bring to fruition (or continue) the RLC vision.
What does this mean for us? The Western Mass RLC first became funded in the Spring of 2007, after the Guiding Council of Western Mass partnered with the Western Mass Training Consortium in 2006 to write a proposal for how they would develop and implement the ‘Recovery Learning Community’ vision.
Thus, this is really the first time since 2006, that we’ve been called upon to sit down as a group and explore questions like, “What has worked? What do we want to see moving forward? How do we want to respond to what DMH says are the key components of an RLC?”