Gathering Personal Stories, by Julie Leibrich

Gathering and Publishing Personal Stories

by Julie Liebrich

Julie developed and edited the wonderful book, ‘A Gift of Stories‘, while she was Commissioner for the Mental Health Commission, Wellington, New Zealand.¬†‘Gathering and Publishing Personal Stories’ by Julie Leibrich¬†(Extracts from ‘A Gift of Stories: discovering how to deal with mental illness’).

She has very kindly given us permission to make available her own Introduction and Reflections from her book. It was the inspiration for many of the collections of recovery stories that have appeared since, including the collection, ‘Beyond the Storms, Reflections on Personal Recovery in Devon‘.


The complete book, ‘A Gift of Stories’ is available for purchase online.

Glenn Roberts has provided a Preface, in which he writes:

“Julie Leibrich set the standard and pointed the way for many of us when, in 1999, she led publication of, ‘A Gift of Stories: discovering how to deal with mental illness.’ There have been personal accounts of mental illness and the struggle for recovery before but this was new and special in representing a collaborative endeavour between the people offering their stories and the compilers and publishers, with the overall intent that the book would be a source of hope and guidance to others – and it was.

More than 10 years later it remains the model and sets the standard for others to follow not only because of its attractive format and engaging contents but also because of the guiding values and respect it embodies for all its contributors and those who offer their stories as a gift to others.”