Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has launched its Recovery & Wellbeing College. Free courses on a range of mental health and wellbeing topics are available to people who are currently using or have used mental health services, their carers and mental health workers in the Health Board, Local Authority or Charitable Sector.
Underpinned by the principles of recovery and co-production, the Recovery & Wellbeing College is flexible and has an educational focus, with the promotion of wellbeing at its core. Individuals are invited to enrol as students on courses that will take place online or in person, at venues across Cardiff and the Vale where social distancing can be accommodated. All of the courses provided are co-produced by people with lived experience of mental health issues and mental health services. Upcoming courses include; Better Sleep During COVID, Understanding Psychosis, and Discovering Self-Compassion.
Annie Procter, Mental Health Clinical Board Director at Cardiff and Vale UHB, said: ‘We are thrilled to have launched our Recovery & Wellbeing College with its rich timetable of free courses. This is a fantastic extension to the mental health services available across Cardiff and Vale UHB – allowing people to understand more about mental health issues to better aid recovery and wellbeing. I’d encourage people to sign up to the fantastic range of courses on offer.”
In the UK, Recovery Colleges are growing in numbers and in the scope of courses they offer. The Cardiff and Vale Recovery & Wellbeing College promotes the training and employment of Peer Workers who have lived experience of mental health challenges and using services. It is widely acknowledged that Peer Support is effective in improving the mental health of people using mental health services. Evaluations of Recovery Colleges show they are extremely popular amongst those who use them - students tend to become less reliant on community mental health services (Centre for Mental Health 2012) and the skills of staff who attend courses are considerably improved (Perkins R, Meddings S, Williams S, Repper J 2018). With funding from the Welsh Government, Cardiff and Vale UHB has developed the Cardiff and Vale Recovery & Wellbeing College as an additional provision for service users, staff and carers, to promote peer involvement and to root recovery into daily practice and language.
The Cardiff and Vale Recovery & Wellbeing College launched with a virtual event where the Autumn Prospectus was unveiled. Plans were also confirmed to further expand the offering of courses available in the spring term.
Dan Crossland Recovery & Wellbeing College Project Lead, said:” The journey to this point has involved service users, carers, Third Sector agencies and staff groups from different disciplines throughout – pooling fantastic expertise to bolster our offering. By working collaboratively we are able to provide a wide range of courses that benefit as many of our service users as possible.”
“The college has already run pilot courses and the appetite for training, education and engagement with students has been excellent. One of the things that has stood out to me most is the openness of students to talk about their mental health whether from staff, service user or carer backgrounds, it’s really refreshing to see barriers being broken down. Mental health and wellbeing are so important, especially with the additional pressures placed on individuals through social distancing measures. The team is really looking forward to welcoming new students as part of our official launch,” added Hannah Morland-Jones, Recovery & Wellbeing College Peer Lead.
The Recovery & Wellbeing College has partnered with mental health charities and organisations across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to deliver a diverse range of courses in addition to existing services. The college is delighted to be able to forge these partnerships and is hoping to develop many more with groups that would like to support the Recovery College model of co-production and accessibility. There are courses this autumn term supported by Diverse Cymru and Growing Space. More information on the new timetable of courses is available on the website.