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My Experience of Eolas 

EVE New Horizon participant perspective

Several weeks ago I took part in an eight week course provided by Eolas and run by facilitators, Roisin and Judith. There were about a dozen or so participants on the course, which was held in EVE New Horizon HUB, based in Tallaght."

New Horizon is part of the EVE network, supported by the HSE, and runs a weekly programme of activities for participants. Over the past two years it has supported me by providing a community of peers and mental health workers to encourage me to become more integrated in the community.

The course aimed to provide information and discussion on issues arising from experience of the two main psychoses: schizophrenia and bi-polar illness. Participants received a useful handbook, but participation was mainly in oral form. The main topics for discussion over the eight weeks were:

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment Interventions/Medication
  • Dealing with voices and Distressing Beliefs
  • Recovery
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Advocacy and Stigma
  • Rights and Entitlements

I found the course to be highly informative and enlightening due to the collaborative effort of facilitators and participants. We also had guests – a psychiatrist, a mental health nurse and a social worker. I was already familiar with some of the elements of diagnosis which were outlined in the first module but the different stages were clearly set out which made the process readily understandable.

The third module, ‘Dealing with Voices and Distressing Beliefs’, was relevant to me in terms of my experience of delusions. It was surprising to hear how common these experiences are, for both voice hearing and distressing beliefs, even among non-service users. The psychiatrist as guest speaker, mainly addressed diagnoses of the conditions, which may have been difficult if couched in technical or medical terms but the doctor made her meaning clear and intelligible for everyone. Liah, the mental health nurse was a fount of information on the effects of medication, including dispelling the odd myth surrounding it.

Recovery and Relapse Prevention were discussed in terms of defining what Recovery means and with reference to the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®). WRAP®, put very basically, gives us tools to manage our symptoms. Eolas embraces the ethos of the recovery model, which neatly tied in with my experience in EVE. Perhaps most interesting to me was the dialogue on stigma. This was actively discussed by participants. It was remarked on, that our conditions are now occasionally discussed on media such as radio within the context of greater mental health coverage but there still remain misconceptions among the wider public.

In addition, Eolas provides an opportunity to train as a facilitator in the programme and one of our participants, Maureen (photo below), has availed of this to share her knowledge and experience with future participants. Overall then, I found Eolas highly engaging and would not hesitate to recommend it to all service users. Special thanks go to Roisin and Judith for organizing this group.


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