Posted on 7th September, 2015
Marie Ash is using her lived experience of mental health and physical health issues to give hope and promote recovery to others. Her work was recognised at Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Celebrating Achievement Awards in 2014 and she hopes her story will help others and also lead to more people who have used mental health services being nominated in this year’s award ceremony. Marie has become an invaluable source of advice and assistance to both staff and people who use mental health services in Devon. Marie tells her own story regularly to community groups and to recovery groups on the urgent care wards in North Devon, where she was often an inpatient herself. She openly shares her story of abuse, depression and addiction which culminated in a split from her family and a overdose. Six years on, Marie is well, and back with her husband and family. She has taken courses in psychology, counselling, mental health awareness and creative writing. She participates in interview panels, attends meetings to bring her views and her perspective and also speak on behalf of other users of mental health services, and helps to run a variety of inpatient groups. She also works alongside Trust staff to improve services and understanding, and also to dispel the fear and stigma surrounding mental health issues: “Everybody’s recovery is different, but seeing that it can happen can give people hope, which is what you often lose,” she says. “If I can give back that hope to people, then it makes it all worthwhile.” Speaking about receiving her Making a Difference Award last year Marie says it was a very special moment for her: “It is a privilege and an honour to touch other people’s lives, and to be recognised for it, but the greatest joy to me was that my son Seb, and his wife Danielle, came with me – because he was so proud of me, what I do, and my personal recovery, as is my husband Paul and our other sons Richard and Stefan. “I love my family and am grateful every day for sharing my life with them. It’s often the small things that make the world of difference – like hearing my grandson calling out to Nanny, because I nearly didn’t have that.” To make a nomination for either staff or people who want to share their recovery story click here. The closing date for nominations is 9 October 2015.