Transformative recovery college applies an innovative approach in helping people with challenging mental health experience
06.09.2019

Innovative methodology includes learners in meaning-making

“The change is in the simple things like finding laughter again, doing family shopping, going back to work, being part of a group where once they were hermits.” – says Alice McDonnel about the impact of “Self-care and well-being” project, which participated in Grundtvig Award 2019 on Life Skills, on the participants. The idea of the initiative is underpinned by principles of co-production, mutual trust, and empathy. In the following interview, Alice tells more about the experience.

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What is the main idea of the initiative?

“The Transformative Recovery College is a community-based service that takes an educational rather than a clinical or rehabilitation approach to improving mental health. The project addresses the needs of individuals who experience mental health challenges to deal with social isolation and build their self-management skills. The project emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion in helping yourself and others in order to lead a fulfilling and happy life.”

How did the project foster the life skills approach?

“Adult education principles and the use of co‐production are foundational to recovery colleges: an individual with experiences of mental health problems can be engaged in designing and delivering courses and not all of those participating in such courses will have a psychiatric or mental health diagnosis. Prevention and management of illness, understanding and supporting someone with an illness are all vital components of life skills. The College focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses. Each person develops their own goals and learning plan as guide and support to their journey in learning and life.”

The project took part in adult learning festival EveryDayImLearning by AONTAS

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?
“With our practice, we achieved a range of outcomes. Most importantly, we build our work on equality in collaboration and co-production of education programmes, decision making, and management of the service. The Transformative Recovery College is offering a very different community lead project in contrast to the clinical and public health service model. Recovery education is evidence-based and once students are engaged they become enthusiastic advocates of the learning process. The impact on individual, family and community lives are very much personal and life-changing. The change is in the simple things like finding laughter again, doing family shopping, going back to work, being part of a group where once they were hermits.”

Self-care and Well-being

Category: National projects
Coordinator: Transformative Recovery College
Country: the United Kingdom
Focus: Transformative learning
Life Skills approach: strengthening self-management, empathy, and compassion
Resources: website

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Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: Transformative Recovery College

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