Stories by people with mental health difficulties that share their success in learning, skills and employment can inspire other people to embark on and sustain their own journeys and they can help workers to better understand the reality of people's experiences. Learner stories can:
- Give people a sense of hope for the future
- Promote equality and diversity
- Raise human rights issues
- Tackle stigma and discrimination
Stories in resources
Learners with mental health difficulties have been involved in developing almost all of the NIACEdefinition/LSCdefinition/ ISCRIdefinition partnership programme resources. Many, such as Take Ten People, include images, quotes and stories that people have shared with us along the way.
Other resources, are designed to capture learners' voices and share their stories. They include art, poetry, prose, photography and interviews. Use the links below to see, listen to or read them.
One in Four: A celebration containing poetry, prose and art produced by learners with a mental health condition
It's not only about flower arranging: The video we made with the Ordinary People group
Hannah's story: NIACE Press Officer Ed Melia talks to Hannah, a student at the Adult College in Lancaster, who is in no doubt about the positive impact learning has had on her mental health. (Audio File, Transcript)
John's story 'What learning has meant to me': Written for a Royal College of Psychiatrists/NIACE seminar about older learners mental health.
Direct payments: Is it for me?: In this concerina learner leaflet photo competition winners share images and stories of how they use direct payments and/or personal budgets.
Adult Learner's Week Winners' Stories
“There is no stopping me now.
I have gone from nothing to gaining a new life –
all because I returned to learning.”
Melanie Turner, 2011 Award Winner
There are many Adult Learner's Week (ALW) award winners' stories that reveal how mental health difficulties have affected people's lives and how success in learning has improved their confidence and wellbeing. You will find them on the Adult Learner's Week website, meanwhile see for example:
Melanie's story: Melanie is this year's Outstanding Learner of the Year, Yorkshire and The Humber. In a short video story she shares the story of how, after being agoraphobic for thirteen years, in September 2007, she plucked up the courage to enrol on a literacy class.
Sherrie's story: Sherrie was Outstanding Learner of the Year, Yorkshire and The Humber in 2010. Her story on the ALW website includes a video and transcript of how her learning journey supported her recovery from mental health difficulties.
Michael's story: Michael started learning with Street Life Soccer in September 2007, despite a 13-year break from education and went on to win the East of England individual award in 2009. His story on the ALW website includes a video.
Stewart's story: As part of a series of podcasts for Adult Learners' Week 2007, Ed Melia (NIACE Press Officer) interviews Stewart Holland, an Adult Learners' Week Award Winner, about how learning has changed his life. (Audio File, Transcript)
If you want to share your stories and resources?
If, like the Portsmouth Back on Track Project videos, you have learner voice resources you want to share with other projects, providers, partnerships and learners or if you are a learner and would like to share your story then we'd love to hear from you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.