16 March 2022

The award-winning Mind Recovery College® is expanding to help more people to develop the knowledge and skills needed in their mental health recovery journey.

The first of its kind in Australia, the Mind Australia program bridges the gap between mental health services and education programs, and this year will provide more courses than ever.

Participants identify their own learning needs and choose from a suite of courses, which are delivered by peer facilitators who use their lived experience of mental health and recovery to inform their work.

Delivered both face-to-face and online, Mind Recovery College courses cover topics such as self-care, parenting with mental illness, understanding addictive behaviour, skills for life and work, and communication and relationships.

This year, Mind Recovery College courses will be delivered in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Mind CEO Gill Callister described the Mind Recovery College, launched in 2013, as one of Mind’s proudest achievements.

"The Mind Recovery College is the first of its kind in Australia and one of our proudest achievements. It bridges the gap between what many people would think of as a traditional mental health service with an education-style program.

“The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recognised that Recovery Colleges have a crucial part to play in a reformed mental health system.

"The feedback we receive from clients indicates the value of this type of work in assisting people to better understand their mental health and wellbeing challenges and, importantly, develop the knowledge and skills they need in their mental health recovery journey.

"Mind is proud to be pioneers in this field, leading the way in supporting people living with the day-to-day impacts of mental health and wellbeing challenges as we have done for more than 40 years.”

Kim Salter, Mind Recovery College Learning and Development Consultant, said the Recovery College is a place where people can come together to discover that they are not alone in the mental health challenges they are experiencing.

“The idea behind it is that we learn from tough stuff when we have a safe, non-judgemental space to be able to reflect. It’s an empowering approach to mental health,” Ms Salter said.

Mind Recovery College courses are currently offered in many Mind services, including the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs in Victoria.

Many Recovery College facilitators have their own mental health lived experience, or have supported someone through a similar experience.

“When a facilitator shares some of the tough times they have been through, but show that it’s possible to come out the other side and do something valuable with these tough experiences, that is very inspiring and communicates to participants that we all have choices,” Ms Salter said.

“Participants feel like the facilitator understands where they are coming from, and that they can relate to them.”

Graham, a Mind Recovery College participant in Mile End, South Australia, says the service helped him better understand his health and wellbeing.

“The Mind Recovery College was an important opportunity for me to learn about my mental illnesses - this was information I gathered on top of a customary medical model of going to my psychiatrist, psychologist and other supports,” he said.

“I learnt so much by being in the company of consumers and carers – up until that point I thought I was the only one experiencing this range of mental illnesses. To hear their experiences was significant for me.

“I was fortunate to have two facilitators that were just so genuine in terms of their connection with participants. They were patient in guiding people to feel comfortable in the group, so I will always be in debt to the Recovery College for the people I was able to connect with. The setting of the Recovery College is completely distinct from what goes on in the medical model.”

About the Mind Recovery College

  • Founded in 2013
  • National Disability Awards Winner – Excellence in Choice and Control in Service Delivery (2015)
  • The Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Award for Achievement with a Different Focus (2016).

Find out more about the Mind Recovery College or call Mind Connect on 1300 286 463