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Writing course ‘breaking stigma around mental health’

THE Western Trust Recovery College in Omagh offers free courses and workshops that support people to better understand and manage their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Michelle Young – writer in residency with the Western Trust – runs a creative writing course at the Recovery College which gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to use creative writing to de-stress, express themselves, and untangle their thoughts.

Open not only to people in touch with mental health services but also the general public, the course began on an online basis last January – due to its popularity among participants, it recommenced last Thursday with a six-week online course, with a four-week, face-to-face course begins November 11.

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Michelle – who is also a children’s author from Castlederg – explained what a class looks like and what people get out of it.

“I select a prompt and introduce it at the start of the class,” said Michelle, “it might be a picture, drawing, song lyrics or a piece of poetry.

“Then the class discuss the prompt from their own unique perspective – everyone sees something slightly different because everyone has had different experiences and learned different lessons through life.”

Michelle continued, “after the collective discussion everyone will produce a piece of creative writing – it may be moving, funny, deeply personal or totally universal.”

Olive Young, Recovery College coordinator, said that the course embodies the core values of the Recovery College regarding “learning from each other and breaking stigma around mental health”.

“We have a variety of courses here ranging from yoga to writing,” said Olive, “and everybody is welcome regardless of whether you feel acutely distressed, mildly anxious, or happy and relaxed.”

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To get a place on Michelle’s online course, apply for the reserve list for her face-to-face class, or find out about engaging with any other Recovery College programme or service you may be interested in, just call Recovery College on 028 82252079 or email them on recoverycollege@westerntrust.hscni.net

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