A Recovery College is where real people with real life experience share what works for good mental health.
Come and enrol in courses designed and taught by people with their own first-hand experience of mental distress, as well as people who have supported loved ones through those experiences. You’ll learn what’s worked for other people, and explore some ideas that might work for you.
There are a number of well-established Recovery Colleges in the UK. Inspired by their achievements, in 2013 Mind Australia established the first Recovery College in Australia. Our model draws on lessons from the UK, while also being tailored for a local context.
Our courses are for anyone who wants to learn more about what works for improving mental health. Most of our students are people who have had their own first-hand experience of mental distress. Other students include family members and friends, and a number of people working in mental health. We find that having a mix of perspectives in the room is a great way to learn from one another. Anyone can come to any course with the exception of Teacher Development. Some courses may have an early session you need to attend first.
For those students who are also professionals in the sector, we ask that you consider how the course content might apply to you and your life. Regardless of whether or not you have received a diagnosis, we believe that everyone can relate to mental distress, and everyone can make changes to improve their own mental health and wellbeing.
Check the Course section of this web site to see up-to-date information. To find out more or join our mailing list, email us at or give us a call on 03 8698 4060 (VIC) or 08 8274 2700 (SA).
We are very pleased that the Melbourne University evaluation of the college shows that students are finding Mind Recovery College™ courses very helpful in their recovery and for supporting others. However, on 30 June 2016 we reached the end of the period supported by our sponsors, the Ian Potter Foundation and Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation. So we now need to increase the fees for our courses to cover the development and deliver costs and allow us to continue to offer them.
The first course remains free for everybody. All courses continue to be free of charge for current Mind customers, carers and family members. A discount may apply for those wishing to enrol in a number of courses. Mind Recovery College™ welcomes all people, so if you are keen to come to a second course but the cost is a barrier please contact our friendly team to discuss your circumstances and options. For students eligible under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, payment of course fees may be an option through your support package.
Note: The Bendigo Campus is currently sponsored by the Partners in Recovery program, therefore all courses will remain free during this sponsorship period.
There are a few ways in which the College is different from a TAFE or University. Our courses tend to be shorter than at TAFE, and our classes smaller: our students have told us this works well for the topics we explore at the College. Most MRC courses don’t have assessments, so you can learn at your own pace without the pressure of being tested. We aim to offer a warm, welcoming experience no matter what your past experience with education may be. Also, many of our courses can’t be found at a typical learning institute, or we cover the same topics in very different ways. For instance, in our courses about mental health, we’ve certainly done our research – but the main focus isn’t only what’s in the textbooks. Instead, we focus on what real people have learned from real life experiences, and help you to apply some of this knowledge in your own life in order to live better.
Our courses offer more structured learning experiences than a typical group program. They are designed with input from qualified and experienced educators, based on contemporary learning theory. Each class has clear learning outcomes and stepped activities to explore and build new knowledge. As a College and not a group, we ask that you:
You can learn at your own pace, but like any good learning experience our courses aim to stretch students a little, to get people thinking in new ways. Most courses will also offer homework or further reading, for those who are keen to learn more about the topic.
Mind Recovery College aims to increase the ways people can learn from each other’s life experiences, whether it’s tips on how you approach mental health, or other skills you’ve picked up in your travels. Many of our teachers are students of the College who wanted to share what they’ve learned. If you’ve got an idea for a course you think would fit well with our curriculum, click here to see how to apply to develop a course. The very first step for potential teachers is to come check out a Mind Recovery College course, if you haven't already, so you know what we're all about.
Yes. Our students tell us that most of our courses are equally valuable to people seeking better mental health, as well as family members and friends. Each term we also run some courses with a particular focus on supporting loved ones experiencing mental distress.
Our courses tend to have a mix of students: some experiencing mental distress first-hand, others supporting someone close to them, and sometimes people that work in mental health. We've found the discussion this generates can encourage some useful insights amongst students. If you and a loved one both wish to attend the same course, consider enrolling in separate runs of that course. This is a suggestion rather than a rule; often there are things you may not as freely discuss in front of someone who knows you very well. Many of our courses run every term, so there are multiple chances to attend each year.
Co-production means making things (production) together (co-). It refers to a process by which communities become active partners in the design and delivery of services, to ‘co-produce’ new ways of doing things. Co-production places equal value on different perspectives and experiences – such as those of being a mental health worker and those of being a service user. It’s about people working together, sharing a wide range of knowledge and skills.
At Mind Recovery College, all our courses are co-produced. For us, that means each course is put together by people with first-hand experience of mental distress, as well as education skills and expertise about the subject at hand. Sometimes one person brings all three ingredients. Sometimes it’s many people putting their heads together, each bringing a range of things to the table to ensure a great course.
Almost all our courses are designed and taught by people with first-hand experience of mental distress. Many of our teachers also have experience supporting loved ones or working in mental health services. This rich base of life experience ensures our courses focus on what really works for good mental health, and offer many different ways of thinking about mental wellbeing and recovery.
You may notice that our curriculum is not all directly focused on mental health or life skills. We run courses about all sorts of things that may help you live the life you want to live, whether or not you’re experiencing mental distress. We believe that learning is good for us, whatever the topic. Courses like Creative Writing or Recovery Narratives are also a chance for students to try out the College and explore how their own strengths and talents can be utilised towards their recovery. Just like any other college, you choose the topic you’re interested in, enrol in the course, and see where it takes you. We also operate from within a social model of health and wellness – it’s not just the ‘obvious’ things that contribute to mental wellbeing.
We have campuses inthe following areas:
Benalla, Bendigo, Cheltenham, Nunawading, South Morang, Wangaratta, Wodonga.
We also run ‘pop-up’ courses from time to time across Victoria, within Mind’s other services or at a range of community venues and are looking towards expending to ther states.
All College courses will provide a Certificate of Achievement for successful completion. These Certificates recognise achievement and can be used to demonstrate effort and learning but are not nationally recognised qualifications.
Our team is led by qualified Learning and Development Consultants with experience teaching and facilitating for a range of learners and environments. MRC sessional teachers draw on their lived experience to share what they have found is helpful. We've all experienced mental distress, or supported someone close to us.
To ensure a quality education experience, we pair first-time teachers with one of our skilled learning and development professionals, to co-produce the course together. We also offer ongoing teacher development for our teachers. Some of our teachers are mental health professionals, but many are not. We believe that when it comes to something as complex as mental health, no one has all the answers, so it helps to share what works. Our teachers don’t claim to be experts – they’re sharing what they know.
Absolutely! Some students choose to share the learning experience with others in their life. Just keep in mind that, for certain topics, you may wish to discuss things in the class that you wouldn’t normally say in front of certain people. We recommend having a think about who’s best to invite to which courses. Anyone who comes will have to enrol in the course themselves, and will have the chance to participate as a student like anyone else. If the person you bring is there to support you with a disability, we will waive their enrolment fee.
There is no limit to how many courses you can attend at Mind Recovery College. You are the best judge of what’s useful at any given point in your journey. Also feel free to speak with any of our teachers about other opportunities for learning and personal growth beyond the College offerings.