‘Journey to Recovery’ Event Inspires Hope and Paves the Way to the Future of Mental Health Services

7th April 2023
Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Siobhan O’Neill

The South Eastern HSC Trust hosted their second ‘Journey to Recovery’ event at the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, Bangor on the 4 April 2023.

The event, which was attended by the Mental Health Champion Dr Siobhan O’Neill, was an opportunity to bridge and strengthen connections and partnerships between people who are journeying through mental health and addictions services and those that provide them. Multiple factors, including social circumstances and significant life events continue to impact the lives of our communities and substance use remains for many as an attempt to manage these difficulties, this can lead vulnerability, suicide and self-harm and also to some people coming into contact with the justice system and prison as well as mental health services.

With this in mind the event was aimed at reflecting on the experiences of people who have availed of the Trusts mental health and addictions services, to provide those in attendance with a better understanding of service provision.

Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Siobhan O’Neill, who opened the afternoon session of the event commented, “Today’s event is very inspiring, the message of hope and healing has been conveyed by not only Trust and voluntary sector staff but also by people with lived experience, whose voices are vitally important in these conversations to help us to understand the correct ways to provide treatment and support.”

Three people with lived experience of these services bravely shared their own personal journeys with these services to garner a better understanding of the components that will be required to agree an integrated plan for supporting people living with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues in the future.

Director of Adult Services & Prison Healthcare, Rachel Gibbs described the event by saying, “The Journey to Recovery event was truly filled with hope, it was great to bring people who use and deliver services for people living with Mental ill health and substance use challenges together to listen, learn and build a plan to support recovery.

“It was a privilege for me to be asked to open this event and heartening to hear about the range of services that exist in our communities to support our friends, families and ourselves.”

Siobhan-ONeill-Rachel-Gibbs-Damien-Brannigan at the