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Pharos: our meaning and purpose

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Pharos is a recovery-focussed project, based in Gozo, to provide help and hope – in an educational setting – to people suffering from mental health or emotional challenges, also reaching out to their friends, families, carers, and professionals involved in their care.

The aim is to set up a Recovery College. This would help people affected by mental health issues, emotional difficulties, and trauma, to learn from their experiences. This will assist in regaining a sense of self, empower people to find ways of living with and beyond the limitations that they might feel, and to engage more fully with life.

Area of operation:

Education: life challenges and self-management skills

Purpose:

To attract people with experience of life difficulties to a supportive setting where they can learn in a co-productive environment about themselves and their challenges, share and learn techniques and skills for self-management in a less- stressed environment so that they may recover meaning and purpose in their lives from theirs and others’ experiences, enabling them to engage more fully in life and society. These training sessions would also be available for personal and professional care providers.

Overview:

Educational focus. Recovery-focused (non-judgmental and non-stigmatizing) language. Bringing and giving hope and support. Taking back control. Making and taking opportunities. Recognition of expertise by experience as well as by practice. Peer support networks. Co-production and co-delivery of courses.

Courses:

These are in five broad categories:

  • Understanding specific challenges and ways forward.
  • Rebuilding your life – the road to recovery
  • Developing knowledge & life skills.
  • Continuing your recovery journey: personal and professional development.
  • Courses specifically for Carers, families & friends.

Function:

Helping people find a new way of looking at the world and interacting on a more equitable basis. Connecting with others to foster understanding and engagement. Learning from the experience of self and others. Actively engaging in new ways of interacting. Noticing and reflecting on the impact of experiences. Giving support and sharing knowledge.

Potential problems:

Means of referral (personal/professional). Funding, including finding suitable, accessible premises, recruiting, training and retaining staff, is probably the greatest challenge. As this is a proven yet innovative approach, some resistance to change may be expected. NGO registration.

Our aims:

To establish a stable centre to help people to take greater charge of their lives. To help people reduce their reliance on the State, statutory services, and – ultimately – on public finances. To establish peer support networks, services and trainers. To provide a third way of care and self-care for those in difficulties, supplementing the Medical Model and Care in the Community. To spread use of the Recovery Model across the Republic of Malta so that more people might benefit once proven in a pilot project in Gozo. For the organization to become self-sufficient through the provision of private and professional training whilst offering a free service to residents of Malta. To make Malta a beacon of hope, shining out across the whole Mediterranean region.

Background:

Ian Springham is a mental health peer trainer from London, now resident in Gozo, who brings his  professional, experiential, and personal skills as a teacher, trainer, tutor,and guide to help people find meaning and purpose from their experiences.  There is more information on the About Pharos page.

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