Participation in creative workshops supports mental health consumers to share their stories of recovery: A one-year qualitative follow-up study
Maddy Slattery, Hayley Attard, Victoria Stewart , Helena Roennfeldt & Amanda J. Wheeler
ABSTRACT: Participation in creative activities has been linked with positive outcomes for people with mental illness. This longitudinal qualitative study is a one-year follow-up of eight mental health consumers who participated in a series of creative workshops in Brisbane, Australia that aimed to increase participants’ capacity and skills in sharing their stories of recovery with others. It also sought to understand successful factors of the creative workshops to inform future workshops. Semi-structured interviews gathered information regarding participants’ memories of the workshops and how they had shared their stories with others over the preceding 12 months. Interpretative phenomenological analysis identified that participants’ enjoyed being engaged in a range of creative mediums in a group setting; that peer mentor support was highly valued; and that participants’ recovery stories had become more positive and were shared more often and openly with others. Overall, participation in the creative workshops had long-lasting benefits for participants with respect to improved confidence and understanding about their illness. Future creative workshops should consider the inclusion of peer mentors with lived experience as a support for participants to reauthor their recovery story.