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Creating "an oasis of hope, inclusion and connection": students and stakeholders' experiences of a pilot Recovery College

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Background: Recovery Colleges are an innovative approach to promoting personal recovery for people experiencing mental illness. Aims: This study was to explore experiences of students, supporters, staff, educators and external stakeholders (i.e. partner organisations) of a pilot Recovery College in the Australian Capital Territory (ACTRC), and the impact of participation in the College for students and supporters. Methods: ACTRC students, supporters, staff and educators, and external stakeholders were invited to participate in a mixed-method evaluation via an online survey, interviews and/or focus groups. The survey included questions regarding experiences and recovery-orientation of the College environment, and for students and supporters only, satisfaction with the College. Qualitative data from interviews and focus groups was inductively coded, thematically analysed and triangulated with survey responses. Results: The findings suggest that the ACTRC provides a safe space, promotes meaningful connections within and beyond the college, and offers steppingstones supporting recovery and growth. Participants spoke positively about cross institutional partnerships and collaboration with several organisations within the ACT. Conclusions: This evaluation reiterates the role of Recovery Colleges as an innovative approach to promoting personal recovery for people living with mental illness. Adequate resourcing and collaboration are essential in realising the value of co-production whilst ensuring sustainability.

Funding

This project was funded by the Australian Capital Territory Health Directorate.

History

Publication Date

2024-02-01

Journal

Journal of Mental Health

Volume

33

Issue

1

Pagination

9p. (p. 92-100)

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISSN

0963-8237

Rights Statement

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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