A new ‘Recovery and Wellbeing College’ which sees people who have life experience of mental health support and mentor others in how to take care of themselves is being extended after proving a success.
Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which established the college, has pledged to continue funding for summer workshops and new courses in the autumn, with a view to running it long term, after courses have given ‘hope and inspiration’ to those in need of support.
Launched in the UK after first being established in America, recovery colleges are now opening up around the country and are being credited with helping to avert a national mental health crisis by keeping patients well and out of units and beds.
Students, who are already known to mental health organisations, are able to identify and select the courses they wish to attend from a prospectus. The courses are tutored by a mental healthcare professional and a Peer Supporter, who is a person who has lived experience of mental health problems themselves, and have been held at venues in Pocklington, Goole, Bridlington and Hull.
The courses teach Emotional Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), among other things, and give the students the opportunity to learn the skills to help themselves.
The trust has run 12 courses in subjects including Mind Mapping, Wellbeing through Creativity, Developing Self Confidence, and Work and Meaningful Activity, which is aimed at helping people wanting to get back into work.
Gavin Hamilton, 57, from Driffield, has had depression all his life, as well as periods of psychosis, and suffers from memory loss after a blow to the head.
He attended the Mind Mapping course and said it has helped him tremendously.
He said: “I have been an occupational therapist in mental health, but I can’t do that anymore as I took a blow to the head and have memory problems.
“The Mind Mapping course really helped me, it organises your mind and is great for people with memory problems.”
Mr Hamilton has also taken a course in Mental Health Awareness through the college and will be tutoring future students when the new term begins later this year.
For details about further courses email HNF-TR.RecoveryCollege@nhs.net or contact 01482 389124.