Caroline Kemp – Researcher and Poet
Caroline Kemp is a researcher on the project, a former carer lead with Clinical Research Network for North East HUB and on Launchpad’s Service User and Carer Network steering group. In addition she is a review panel member for the National Institute for Health Research. She has developed guidelines for the Clinical Research Network for involving service users in research.
Caroline has had poems and articles published in Launchpad, Rethink, Journal of Progressive Human Services, Radical though and Praxis, Forward Press, Material, and Diamond Twig.
‘I’ve been involved with the recovery project for over four years now, since its inception. My reasons for becoming involved were twofold. The first reason is the one most people have and that is to make a difference…..altruistic. The second reason was purely personal. I had looked after my daughter for 17 years with severe bipolar – where no medication ever really worked or alleviated severe anxiety or depression or psychosis. I wanted to find out what recovery was and if it could be possible for my daughter. We both had a lot of experiences of care coordination. I wanted to find a new way through the path or a different way, new insights that would turn our lives around. Doing this research has been part of my recovery. It has been a privilege to interview carers and share their journeys, which are often very heartbreaking, to analyse the data, with NVivo 10 and disseminate it at many conferences…20+ now.
It is reassuring to me to realise how health care professionals, academics, and the service user and carer movements are all driven by the same value base. Although the word ‘recovery’ has somehow been politically hijacked there is a strong move towards making individual lives meaningful and having a better quality of life. That is surely the essence of recovery. These poems are part of my journey through this research which is also my recovery, my sense of trying to find or make something meaningful and purposeful out of all the lost days.’