ACT Recovery College Trial

The ACT Recovery College will be established under a unique model that combines the strengths and expertise of the three critical sectors concerned with the mental health of the Canberra community – the community mental health sector, the adult education sector, and the government sector.  A consortium of partners is being set up to manage the trial.  These partners include:

  • ACT Mental Health Consumer Network
  • Carers ACT
  • Canberra Institute of Technology
  • Mental Health, Justice Health, and Alcohol & Drug Services, ACT Health.

To learn more about the proposed model for the Recovery College please see the Report: A Mental Health Recovery College for Canberra.

If you would like to be involved in this wonderful initiative or would simply like to be kept informed about progress of the College, please provide your detail here.


Interest in having a Recovery College in Canberra began in 2015, when Richmond Fellowship hosted a talk by doyen of Recovery Colleges clinical psychologist Dr Rachel Perkins, from the UK. After that, the push for a Recovery College in Canberra began in earnest, especially amongst community-based mental health service providers and organisations.

As the peak body for the mental health community sector, MHCC ACT was tasked to lead the way. In collaboration with a number of other community based mental health organisations, MHCC ACT put a submission to the ACT Government for funding to establish a Recovery College in late 2015. The Government provided funding for a design project in 2016 -2017 and a document outlining a design plan was submitted to the ACT Government in October 2017 for consideration for the 2018–19 Budget.

Although, as was reported on this website, it was thought that the bid for funding was unsuccessful, lobbying by many in the community mental health sector and strong support from the ACT Minister for Mental Health resulted in the successful funding of a two year trial of a Recovery College.

What is a Recovery College?

A Recovery College is a place of learning, connection and hope for people living with mental illness, their carers, families and friends. Colleges operate in a similar way to adult learning centres but with a focus on mental health.

Each College offers a range of classes to suit the needs of its community. These generally include an array of topics on understanding and managing various mental health conditions, but also courses on life skills, carer needs, and aspects of the mental health system.

The courses are co-designed and co-produced by mental health professionals and people with lived experience, and are also co-delivered in class.

When students join a Recovery College they discuss their goals and develop an individual learning plan with an educator or student support officer, selecting a course or courses that will help them meet their goals. Students are supported throughout their studies by their educators, support staff and their fellow students.

Recovery Colleges complement other mental health services and help increase participants’ ability to stay well. They reduce the incidence and severity of relapse, and enable people to more fully participate in life. They can also be a launch pad into mainstream education, employment and re-connection with the community.

Further information on Recovery Colleges can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.


Project Report
A design concept for the Recovery College was informed and developed through a series of consultation workshops in 2017. To learn about the proposed design click here.

An innovation in mental health care
The Health Foundation UK on Vimeo


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