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Recovery College to increases support for students

Health and education professionals in Swansea have come together to launch a new initiative in the city to support people in their on-going recovery from mental illness.


A Recovery College is opening at CREST, formally known as the Cwmbwrla Day Centre, which will help individuals to become experts in their own care and develop the skills they need to rebuild their lives.

The first Recovery College opened in England more than eight years ago and they have grown quickly in number with the approach also adopted in other countries including Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Australia and Japan.

They are formal learning institutions that create an environment in which people with a lived experience of mental distress feel safe, welcome and accepted and provide education as a route to recovery.

Existing employment and day services at CREST, which is run by Swansea Council and The Swansea Bay University Health Board, will continue as normal.

The college is a collaboration between CREST, mental health services users, Swansea University, Gower College and the University of Wales Trinity St David.

Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Care, Health and Ageing Well, Cllr Mark Child, said: "Since CREST was established three years ago there has been an emphasis on recovery, work and educational opportunities at the centre.

"Working with our partners we are now ready to take the next step with the development of a Recovery College.

"It has long been recognised that individuals experiencing mental disorders can often be excluded from mainstream opportunities such as employment, occupation, education and training, and this in turn has the unintended consequence of creating loneliness, isolation, social exclusion and worsening mental health and well-being.

"Day centres and day opportunities have helped reduce some of these difficulties but cannot on their own solve the problems.

"At CREST, our Recovery College will support individuals with experience of mental health difficulties to live the life they want to lead and become experts in their own self-care.

"An educational approach will be used to improve health and to compliment care and treatment already offered by Swansea Council and Swansea Bay University Health Board."

All courses at the college will be developed and delivered by people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and mental health professionals.

Supporting the Recovery College to achieve these aims, Swansea University, Gower college and UWTST have agreed to offer further education courses that individuals might apply for to assist with personal goals or act as potential steps into higher education or employment.

A formal launch of the college took place at the Taliesin Arts Centre where guests heard comments from current students as to how CREST has helped them and what they hope for the future and they also had the chance to view videos they had made.

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