Lorraine: peer support graduate, artist and poet

My name is Lorraine – I am a Peer Support Graduate, Artist and Poet who has lived experience of mental illness. I am passionate about making sure that people hear and understand the message of recovery.
I was keen to get involved in this project so that I could raise the profile of the reality of recovery from mental illness, even the most severe. I want to illustrate by example what people in recovery can and do achieve by way of making a meaningful contribution to a wider society.
Voluntary work in mental health has given me back a value, a new sense of purpose and identity, as well as a great deal of personal fulfillment. I have delivered recovery training for anyone with an interest in mental health , and also mental health awareness training. I have run a group for individuals in Perth called The Art of Living, and I am a media volunteer with See Me. Anything that helps society see people with mental health problems in a more positive light has to be good.

I have also written a book, called "The Journey Home". As well being my story, it also contains poems and photographs. Some of these are on this page. You can find out more about my book here
(Photos here as a slideshow) Here are some of my photographs.

And here is a poem from the book:

We can grow through our pain
We can grow through our pain
Into somebody we could never have expected becoming,
Becoming stronger, freer.
More facets, dimensions
Diversity of directions.
Onwards, upwards.
We can grow through our pain,
Reaching for our own individual light

I personally enjoy art, photography, hillwalking and creative writing and have completed my first year of my degree course at art school. I would like in future to take my artwork into the community as a therapeutic tool.
Other links – find out more about the Wellness Recovery Action Plan on the Scottish Recovery Network website http://www.scottishrecovery.net/WRAP/wellness-recovery-actions-planning....

The User and Carer Forum think that Lorraine is a good example of these citizen leadership principles:

1. Potential
Lorraine argues that everyone needs to have their potential recognised and valued
2. Development
She has taken lots of opportunities to develop her leadership potential, and has shown lots of drive and energy
6. Equality
Lorraine talks about the discrimination people with mental health problems face, and she tackles this head on
8. Wider Benefit
Her book, photography, training courses and other voluntary work all benefit many other people