Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Write to Recovery? you can't be serious

I sent an article to Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) on spec which had recovery as one of the themes.  It was a serious piece, narrative with references, of some length.  I didn't expect that it would be published but I did expect that my writing would be considered.

I received a response on Monday from an SRN worker which rejected my article for publishing on their website but recommended I consider posting it on their new sister website 'Write to Recovery'.  

So I did a search on google and it said ""Write to Recovery is designed to help people improve their mental wellbeing by sharing their stories and experiences.".  I was in Glasgow at the time, participating at a meeting from the lived experience perspective.  So I sent back an Email to the SRN worker saying I thought that pointing me to this website for publishing my writing might be patronising.

For in 2005 and then in 2008 I had shared my "recovery story" on the SRN website.  It's still there and here it is 5 March 2008 'Recovery Update' with introduction: 

"Chrys Muirhead originally submitted her recovery thoughts via the 'Submit your story' on this website in 2005. Three years on and Chrys brings her recovery story up-to-date and also revisits the past to make sense of the present."

When I got home I had a proper look at their 'Write to Recovery' sister website and was quite frankly flabbergasted at what I saw and read.  I checked out some stories and read posts with swear words, defamatory religious and political comments.  I didn't have to search long to find them.

I immediately Emailed the SRN leads and the hosting organisation Penumbra with screenshots of these posts which could be deemed offensive.  It seemed the moderation was lax or non-existent.  I was concerned that some of the writing could hinder people's recovery.  

There was also an issue of privacy as one of the blog posts I read identified where a person came from and named her colleagues in the writing (I didn't screenshot this one, having no desire to further expose someone's identity).  SRN has this statement on the blogging website:

"At Scottish Recovery Network (“SRN”), we pride ourselves on our commitment to protecting your privacy."

I have had no response from SRN or Penumbra to my Email raising concerns.  Here are the screenshots of blog posts which I sent to them:

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