The launch of the new Buckinghamshire Recovery College at The White leaf centre in Aylesbury was an exciting event for the Healthwatch Bucks team, as people from all over the county came together to celebrate this innovative approach to mental health and recovery.

The college, run by Head Teacher, Carol Tough, is the only college in the country solely dedicated to supporting people’s mental health.

Attendees were also joined by actor and comedian, Russell Brand, an advocate for people experiencing mental health problems, having lived with significant addiction problems himself.

An innovative and welcomed approach to mental health

The Recovery College uses an educational approach to bring people together, by offering a range of courses co-designed to contribute to wellbeing and recovery.

Its focus is on the journey, and it empowers people to become an expert in their own wellbeing by recognising recovery as a highly individual process; the aim is to support people to utilise their own resourcefulness, talents and skills to learn how to take care of themselves.

Professional tutors are joined by ‘lived-experience’ tutors, who aide this process by sharing their own experiences and offering a real understanding to students.

The launch kicked off with a number of key speakers, detailing their experience of mental health problems as well as the comfort that the recovery college has brought them.

Russell Brand was also there to share his experience of recovery, offering a witty yet intelligent approach to the subject.

His assertion that the love and support of others is integral to good mental health, was clearly a philosophy strongly embodied by both those working and studying there.

A new future

With people increasingly seeking support for their mental health and wellbeing, the launch of the college could not have come at a better time.

The college operates on a hub and spokes model with The Whiteleaf Centre as its hub and courses and workshops provided at venues across the county. The college hopes to increase the number of courses available over time.

To find out more about the Buckinghamshire Recovery College, visit its website, or follow them on Facebook @BucksRecoveryCollege or Twitter @Bucks_Recovery.

Healthwatch Bucks look forward to working with the Buckinghamshire Recovery College in the future.

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