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Recovery Colleges

Jane McGregor

Recently, Learning without Limits values and principles have been generatively applied in a research study of a new and exciting development in mental health services.

There is currently significant interest nationally and internationally in the NHS development and operation of Recovery Colleges in England. They have become a central component in Recovery focused mental health services. Recovery is not the eradication of symptoms as commonly understood in medicine, but the overcoming of stigma, the rebuilding of identity and a meaningful and satisfying life. The Colleges support this through an explicitly educational model, particularly through co-produced and co-facilitated courses, peer support and the development of social networks. Courses are free to service-users (over 18), their supporters and Trust staff.

In exploring what is seen as the transformative power of Recovery Colleges, the four major teaching and learning principles identified in the Learning without Limits projects mapped closely onto the emergent culture of the Nottingham Recovery College which was the subject of the study. Co-production and co-agency were fundamental in acting to lift limits and expand opportunities and building and strengthening positive states of mind for College students: Also, of fundamental importance was developing capacity for learning and change in relation to mental health and well-being throughout the wider organisation.