27 January 2023

For Glenda Richardson and other people experiencing mental health and wellbeing challenges, going on a holiday is all but a dream. 

Whether it is poor health, low or no income, or an inability to access necessary supports – there are many barriers blocking people with mental illness from much-needed respite. 

“The last actual holiday I had was three years ago; I got called back because mum was dying. I’m on a disability pension so money isn’t plentiful, and I thought I was never going to be able to go on holiday again,” Glenda said. 

“Then the NDIS came in and I found out about these Recovery Retreats.” 

Mind’s Recovery Retreats provide a unique opportunity for people with mental illness to experience time away from home while reflecting on how to build wellbeing in their lives in a safe, supported and flexible environment. 

Recovery Retreats range from three to four day stays, where participants receive high quality 24/7 support, individual accommodation and recreational and educational opportunities so that they can get comfortable doing things many of us take for granted, such as going to a café. 

For Glenda, who has a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief, Recovery Retreats have been a dream come true. 

Since Mind started running Recovery Retreats in South Australia in 2021, the 62-year-old from Adelaide has attended four trips to Mount Barker, McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley and Mannum.  

Accommodation on these outings has varied from private cabins, hotel rooms and glamping, which acted as a base for activities such as bowling, trips to the zoo and local cheese tasting – all accompanied by trained community mental health practitioners and other people experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns. 

“I couldn’t ask for more from the support workers; they are very sensitive to your needs and where you are at. They encourage you to get in there and participate,” Glenda said. 

“I would never previously have been able to do that and have fun – it’s been a bloody tough year to put it mildly, so to have someone really care and make you feel that you matter has been huge for me. 

“I come back refreshed. It’s a great way to meet others and realise you are not the only one with a mental illness; you are with likeminded, empathetic people who get ‘it’.” 

Recovery Retreats have supported Glenda to build confidence, self-assurance and hope following a lived experience of trauma, which had previously made the idea of mixing with other people challenging. 

About Mind Recovery Retreats 

Mind Australia Recovery Retreats are a unique opportunity for people with mental health challenges to experience time away from home while reflecting on how to build wellbeing in their lives. 

Recovery Retreats are supported by people with specialised skills in mental health recovery in a safe and flexible environment. 

Retreats feature: 

  • High quality 24/7 support 
  • Individual accommodation (no group/shared accommodation) 
  • Mental health support and help with daily living 
  • Opportunities for those participating to design the structure of recreational activities and workshops (all inclusive) 
  • All meals and snacks provided. 

Recovery Retreats can be accessed through an NDIS plan under Short Term Accommodation. They can also be self-funded. 

Access Mind Recovery Retreats here or call 1300 375 330. 

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Glenda sitting with a plate of food