The first college in the county to focus exclusively on enabling people to better manage their mental health is expanding significantly in 2018. Research shows that a Recovery College can keep people well, prevent stays in hospital, and save mental health services thousands of pounds.
More than 800 students have so far enrolled in Oxfordshire Recovery College over the last two years. Launched just over two years ago, the Recovery College is building on its record of success by recruiting six tutor posts to meet growing demand. A core team of three staff, four paid tutors, and a dedicated team of volunteer tutors currently deliver courses, but the College will be expanding to meet an explosion of interest in its services.
The College offers funded training courses and peer-led education as a road to recovery. All courses are co-designed and co-delivered by people with lived experience of mental ill health and by mental health professionals. Students include people experiencing poor mental health; friends, family and carers; and staff and volunteers of the mental health sector.
The College received 33 new enrolments in December 2017 alone, more than doubling from the previous year. Restore forecasts that the College will have had a total of around 1,400 enrolments in a year’s time from now.
In the term just beginning, the Recovery College will deliver 57 courses on topics including Understanding Mental Health, Introduction to Recovery, and Understanding Depression. During the same term in 2017, Oxfordshire Recovery College taught 27 courses and, in a year’s time, we anticipate this number to increase to around 90 available courses.
Local mental health charity Restore is the Lead Partner for the Oxfordshire Recovery College—based at its Elder Stubbs site—on behalf of Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership which delivers all adult mental health services in the county.
In addition to recruiting six new tutors, the College is also looking to improve its home at Elder Stubbs, aiming to create more space for offices and training spaces, to meet growing need.
Laura Dennis, Head of Oxfordshire Recovery College, said: “For many, mental health recovery is about staying in control of their lives, managing their mental health, and engaging in things that feel meaningful. These are exactly the tools and strategies the Recovery College aims to share.”
“If we’re able to expand both our team and our offices, we can support even more people to access even more courses. We know what we do makes an impact, and we believe firmly in the potential of this project. We’re hopeful that generous businesses, groups, and individuals might feel as inspired by the college as we do, and get in touch directly to explore supporting our work!”