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Surviving Spirit Story

The ideas, thoughts and dreams for The Surviving Spirit

The Surviving Spirit had its origins a long time ago in the mid-nineties. As a musician, I had many unique opportunities to perform in various venues that would have a fair number of attendees dealing with trauma, abuse, or mental health issues. These performances took place in peer support centers, psychiatric hospitals, day treatment centers, conferences, workshops, outdoor events, festivals, fairs, rallies, fundraising events, and much more. I was always blown away by the number of people who not only shared parts of their difficult lives with me but also had incredible gifts and creative talents—whether as artists, musicians, authors, craftspeople, photographers, writers, sculptors, poets, and more. Their list of talents covered all styles and genres. Many others also contacted me through my website and shared information about their respective creative abilities.

I also witnessed this incredible talent as an advocate involved in several efforts to help those affected by trauma, abuse, and mental health concerns.

This got me thinking about all this creativity out there and how these talents could be showcased to the general public. I became aware of some places that featured the creative works of people affected by trauma, abuse, and mental health, but sadly, many of these places didn't last, or they lacked the business skills to take it to the next level. These retail galleries had the talent, the desire, and the passion, but for many, the business acumen was missing.

While contemplating how a website could be effective in promoting the creative works of these talented individuals, I was also mindful of how their unique talents transcended their challenges and health concerns. Sadly, many of these wonderful people had been marginalized in life, yet their creativity and skills showed the exact opposite. Showcasing the creative works of these folks could also do much to dispel some myths, fears, and misperceptions about those dealing with trauma, abuse, and the label of mental illness. It also aimed to address the concerns of stigma and discrimination and offer Hope, Healing, & Help—this became the dream of The Surviving Spirit.

The first step taken to help fulfill this dream was the creation of a newsletter many years ago titled "Survivor Friends & Friends of Survivors," in which websites, books, music, art, events, and much more were shared with a mailing list of several hundred people. That list has grown to several thousand, and many others, in turn, pass it on to their respective email lists. Now, the newsletter is aptly titled "The Surviving Spirit — Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts." The newsletter now reaches people all over the USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, many parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Israel, Kenya, Jamaica, South Africa, and parts of South America.

The second step in this endeavor was the formation of The Surviving Spirit website to share resources that offer Hope, Healing & Help.

Thank you, and take care,

Michael Skinner