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First-of-its-kind festival puts the spotlight on recovery

A first-of-its-kind ‘Recovery Festival’ will give people at a secure mental health unit the chance to have their views heard and to find out more about the wide range of support available to them in the community.

The Norvic Clinic - which is based in Norwich and run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) - will host the two-day Christmas R-Fest next week, on 15 and 16 December.

The festival will turn the spotlight on recovery for its current service users while also giving former service users the chance to inspire others by sharing their own stories.

For many people, the concept of recovery is about staying in control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem. Professionals in the mental health sector often refer to the ‘Recovery Model’ to describe this way of thinking. (Mental Health Foundation)*

During the festival, a special forum will take place on 15 December, so that people can have their say on NSFT’s first ever Secure Services User Strategy, which aims to ensure everyone using NSFT’s secure mental health services is fully involved in their own care.

In the evening, the unit will host its fourth Christmas Open Mic Night, giving service users and staff the chance to perform as individuals or in a group, singing songs, performing raps, reading poems, telling jokes or even juggling.

The festival will conclude on Wednesday with three taster sessions showcasing some of the courses available at NSFT’s Recovery College, including ‘Building strengths and abilities’, ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ and ‘Introduction to Recovery’.

Ged Bailes, Lead Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist at the Norvic Clinic, said: “We are always looking for innovative ways to engage with our service users and thought that a special Christmas R- Fest would be a fun way of doing just that.

“We’ll be turning the spotlight on recovery throughout both days, with the aim of sparking people’s interest and getting them talking. As well as promoting the wide range of courses available through our Trust’s Recovery College, we’ll be giving people the chance to hear some inspirational recovery stories first-hand from our ex-service users.

“We’re really looking forward to the open mic night, which gives our inpatients and staff the chance to let their hair down by singing, dancing, playing instruments or showcasing any other talents they may have. We will turn the Norvic Clinic gym into a cabaret and create a really warm, festive atmosphere before the entertainments begin.

“The festival will encourage people to have fun and celebrate the festive season while also filling them with inspiration and hope with some of the fantastic recovery stories we’ll be sharing. We hope that all of our service users find it enjoyable and a useful tool which will help their own recovery journey.”

What is recovery?
*For many people, the concept of recovery is about staying in control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem. Professionals in the mental health sector often refer to the ‘recovery model’ to describe this way of thinking.

Putting recovery into action means focusing care on supporting recovery and building the resilience of people with mental health problems, not just on treating or managing their symptoms.

There is no single definition of the concept of recovery for people with mental health problems, but the guiding principle is hope – the belief that it is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite serious mental illness. Recovery is often referred to as a process, outlook, vision, and conceptual framework or guiding principle.

Mental Health Foundation Website:  ​