Recovery College Isle of Man (RCM) has launched its Autumn term prospectus.
RCM is a concept that is being developed by Manx Care as an integral part of its integrated mental health service, and aims to support the development of its students by helping them to learn self-management strategies that they can confidently apply to their everyday lives, allowing them to build a life that they find satisfying, meaningful and valuable.
The concept of a Recovery College may be relatively new on the Island; however, across the UK these are well-established and form a core part of a recovery-focused integrated mental health service. Recovery Colleges offer a range of courses and learning experiences that are focused on helping individuals aged 16 and over to learn new skills that will help them to recover from mental health and wellbeing challenges they may face. Courses are co-produced with professional experts and people who have lived experience of having overcome mental health challenges themselves.
Currently, courses offered by RCM are open to those individuals who have an open referral to mental health services on the Isle of Man, their families and support networks, as well as the students and staff of University College Isle of Man (UCM). This will allow them to focus on improving their own wellbeing, or the health and wellbeing of someone they support.
RCM will initially hold all of its courses at educational facilities run by University College Isle of Man (UCM) at Greenfield Road in Douglas. However, as Manx Care further develops its prospectus and depending on the type of courses it looks to develop, it will aim to offer a range of courses at campuses and other locations across the Island in order to be as accessible as possible for students.
RCM held a small number of courses during the Summer term (2022) in order to test the concept on a small cohort of students, and use their feedback to shape future course content. This has informed the Autumn term prospectus, which will offer 11 courses covering the following topics:
- A Good Night’s Sleep: Ways to Promote our Sleep
- Workshop for Wellbeing
- Wellness, Recovery and Action Planning (WRAP)
- Assertiveness and Confidence workshop
- Managing Anxiety
- Life Beyond Covid-19
- Mental Health First Aid
- Gender Identity and Awareness
- Sexual Health Awareness
- Creative Drawing: Geometric Art
- Lifestyle Strategies to Promote our Health and Wellbeing
Some courses are one-day in duration, whereas others require regular attendance over a period of weeks. All courses are offered free of charge, and will be delivered in small, friendly groups. Students will receive help with enrolment, alongside the development of their own Individual Learning Plan (ILP) which is re-visited at the end of each programme to support their learning and being able to implement next steps.
Tania Linden, Manager of Adult Mental Health Services within Manx Care, has developed RCM with her team and commented:
'Recovery is about so much more than a narrow focus on symptoms. It’s about achieving quality of life; through choice, opportunity, having a sense of identity and meaning, and the college philosophy underpins all of these principles. The launch of RCM here on the Island is a really positive step forward in supporting individuals who wish to improve their mental health and wellbeing, and those who may be involved in providing support for them. It provides a relaxed, informal, educational approach to wellbeing and recovery, as well as a safe place where people can come together in confidence to learn ways to live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives. In future, courses will be open to all adults across the island, and cover a much wider scope, as the recovery principles apply to anyone living with a long term condition.
'Co-production of our courses with people who have lived experience across the topics in our curriculum is really important because we know that life isn’t lived through a textbook, and so peers can use their own personal experiences to support and inspire others. I’d urge people who are eligible for support under RCM to find out more.'
Jesamine Kelly, Principal of UCM, added:
'We’re really pleased to be collaborating with Manx Care on this important programme that will support people living in our community move from education-based courses aimed at developing positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours, and improving their resilience, to further education or employment if this is right for them. For others, this programme will help to improve their knowledge across a range of important topics so that they are able to support those in their immediate family or those they provide care for. Collaboration on programmes like RCM really is very powerful, and we’re really excited to see the impact this will have in the future.'