Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Recovery Through Creativity

I turned addictions, mental illness and suicidal thoughts around for myself and into something that has helped thousands of children and adults manage their wellbeing. I changed my career not once, but twice in my 40s. I have become the person I never knew I needed as a child.

I’m Paul Chambers, Co-Founder and COO of The Creative Mental Health Charity PoetsIN. Everything changed for me after coming out of nearly 30 years of drink and drug addictions when I subsequently broke apart. I couldn’t face another sales job. Things had to change, so I left the corporate world to write the book a publisher had offered to put out there.

It was then that I was diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, and personality disorders. It turned out I’d been numbing these since I was 13 when I started drinking, with soft drugs in my teens before moving on to much harder drugs until my late 30s.

As a child I cured my own stutter by learning alternative words through reading books older than my years, and got into writing – fiction and poetry – something that continues to the present day and is part of the creativity that my charity uses to teach people coping tools and mechanisms.

It was through releasing a fiction book that I met my charity co-founder after she read my book and we got talking on Twitter. It turns out that like me, she had struggled since her childhood, was diagnosed in her adult years and also used writing as a means to cope.

I had mastered digital marketing when marketing my book before and after publication and I began working on an American website increasing numbers of users. They were terrible business people and even worse payers so we came up with an idea to utilise creativity and writing to help transformation and rehab, pitched it to Peterborough Prison – and ended up trialling it for two years to people of all backgrounds and crimes.

Since then, we have partnered with multiple public, private and third sector organisations delivering our programme to children, young people and adults. We have won awards and have 5 years of measured results with 99% of participants reporting a reduction in stress and anxiety.

We deliver in schools, offices, online and in person; and now the NHS are using us (and prescribing us) to help the epidemic of people needing mental health support.

I never knew I was struggling as a child and into my adult years. I’m surprised I’m here to this day after the lifestyle choices I chose – but sometimes you have to break apart to put the pieces back together in a way that is better for you and the world. I’m the person I never knew I needed and my past is part of the person I am now, changing lives.

Paul Chambers, is the Co Founder of The Creative Mental Health Charity, PoetsIN

Paul is COO of the charity and wears multiple hats growing the business, applying for much needed funding, making public appearances and looking at numbers. He prefers delivering mental health programmes to kids and adults, which helps him manage his own Mental Health. He adores writing, cats, books, horror films and his fiancée – all of which keep him on an even keel in some way.


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