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Recovery Colleges

Learning and well-being come together at new learning centres

Mental health. It wasn’t a class at school. So where can adults in Canada go to learn about mental health and well-being? The answer is “recovery colleges.” The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) already operates 16 centres in communities across Canada. And, more will be popping up across the country, increasing availability and access to Recovery College courses.  

So, what exactly is a Recovery College?  

Recovery Colleges, based on a successful community mental health model from the UK, are focused on personal recovery in mental health and well-being. Recovery Colleges provide an innovative learning space where anyone can access free courses, webinars, workshops, and events to learn, gain new skills, and connect with others in their community.  

In Canada, today, recovery colleges offer a new twist on the UK model. Here, these welcoming in-person and virtual learning centres are called by many different names. But whether they are called Recovery College, HOPE Learning Centre, Well-being Centre or Discovery College, they are all about establishing social connection, hope and optimism, identity, meaning, and empowerment through education. 

They are modeled after a traditional college, with its large course offerings and vibrant learning environment. But there are no tests at a recovery college, admission is free and everyone is welcome. 

What also sets them apart from traditional educational institutions are the subjects offered. Instead of language literacy, for instance, you might take a course in mental health literacy, or in health and well-being. Courses range from topics including ‘Understanding Anxiety’ to ‘Self-Help 101’ as well as cooking classes, walking groups, and mindfulness practices. Even the course curriculum is unique: it is developed by subject experts and mental health professionals, working together with people who have their own experience in personal recovery. 

Is Recovery College right for you?  

These centres are designed to be supportive learning environments, where you are welcome, whatever your mental health goals. You may have a mental illness, or a mental health problem, including a substance use issue, and you may be on a personal recovery journey. Or maybe you support someone who is. You may be looking for skills to enhance your self-care or your overall sense of well-being. Or maybe you need to develop a little confidence in facing life’s challenges. Whatever your reason, you might just find the right course for you. And you will find an empowering learning environment where the people are genuine, and the knowledge is practical. 

Find a centre near you:

Ontario Shores and CMHA are also working with interested parties to explore, mentor and support the planning of potential new centres across the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Contact information

For more information about CMHA’s recovery colleges, or to learn more about working with CMHA and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) to open your own local learning centre, please contact us at [email protected].