We Believe That Individuals With Mental Ill Health Can Recover
By ‘recovery’ we mean being able to move on from a position where a person’s mental ill health can dictate their quality of life and their dependency upon the services that support them, to living independently with the confidence in themselves and the networks around them to make choices about the type of life they wish to lead. Their choices could include further education, training, employment opportunities, participating in and contributing to their local communities.
When Birchwood Highland opened Scotland’s first Recovery Centre back in 2008, the concept of recovery was new in Scotland. However, the charity believed that with the right support people experiencing mental ill health and go on to lead rewarding, fulfilling lives. Now, still the only place of its kind in the country, the Recovery Centre and Birchwood Highland as a whole continue to be at the leading edge of mental health recovery.
The Recovery Centre provides accommodation for up to 23 people who are working towards their own recovery. Birchwood Highland’s highly-trained staff provide support to service users in 12 self-contained apartments and 11 single rooms. There people build up their skills, knowledge and self-esteem, and develop support networks so that they can successfully move on to their own accommodation in the community. We also provide support in communities across the Highlands, working to the recovery model.
We consistently achieve very high grades across all of our services and we are proud to be a pioneer for recovery here in the Highlands. We are also proud that the people we support rate our services, too.
Testimonials from Service Users
“Birchwood enabled me to move into my own flat three years ago. I was in a house that was rat infested before that, but Birchwood helped me out of there. Now I’m happy as Larry.”
“I was introduced to Birchwood Highland 8 years ago. Probably, without sounding melodramatic, it’s a big reason why I’m here, on this planet, is down to Birchwood Highland. Today the person you see is very different to the person who was introduced to Birchwood Highland. In those days I was a mess – I was really in a bad way. It’s taken a long time to get to this point and along the way June and Birchwood Highland staff have been so, so supportive. I used to have a social worker and I used to see a psychiatrist regularly, but of all the professional people who have helped me along the way, it’s Birchwood’s staff that have helped me the most, by far. If you were to join us in a session when I see June or Lorraine, it might be unclear as to how they help me, but they listen to me and offer advice where appropriate. They’re not offering a magic solution, but I’m not expecting that. It’s more that there’s someone to act as a sounding board. In recent months there have been times when I have arrived in absolute tears. I get incredibly desperate where I have enormous feelings of self harm. I’ve arrived many a time in that state and everybody is so good. Everyone’s brilliant. The state I arrive in, then I can leave with a spring in my step. June is brilliant. I cannot thank Birchwood Highland enough. I feel very lucky to have been introduced to Birchwood Highland. It’s an amazing, amazing organisation… and everyone’s so nice. I have not met anyone who isn’t nice.”
“I’ve been with Birchwood Highland for about 15 years. I got a house because of them - a house which I love. The staff are very good and we get a lot of help and trips - you get good fun, a good laugh and it’s good fellowship, which is all very helpful. The staff help with financial things which I’m no use at, and with my house, too. Is I’m 78 so I’m getting no so good at that now. I go out and tidy my garden and the pavements because that helps me get out. Birchwood Highland’s staff are very helpful – you just need to phone them and they help. Everyone in Birchwood Highland is wonderful – very nice people – I cannae say a wrong word about them.”
“Everything Birchwood Highland staff do is the best – they are caring and sensitive to what you’re going through, which is so important. When you see doctors they have no feeling of sensitivity - you’re just another person, but Birchwood Highland’s people know exactly what’s going on. Without Birchwood Highland I would not be where I am today. I would have been probably sitting at my daughter’s grave. There are moments when I feel ‘who do I have? I don’t have anyone’, but I know an elderly gentleman and every time I say this he doesn’t bring out my son in law’s name or my grandchildren’s names, he says: ‘Birchwood. Birchwood is there for you – they are your family now’. He’s right. Birchwood Highland made me welcome when I was in a very bad state – I owe them so much.”