Recovery College has eye on Bunbury

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Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
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Western Australian Recovery College principal Naomi Carter.
Camera IconWestern Australian Recovery College principal Naomi Carter. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian, Kelsey Reid

Community education and breaking stigmas — those are two goals of WA Recovery College, which has its sights set on Bunbury.

The college provides an educational approach to recovery and offers a pathway for people to learn about wellbeing in the community.

The idea behind it is that education can be a fundamental part of someone’s wellbeing recovery journey, supporting them to overcome barriers including challenges with mental health, substance use and other life issues, college principal Naomi Carter said.

Our hope is that it will break down stigma and create more opportunities for understanding and connection in the community.

Naomi Carter

Ms Carter said the model of the courses involved an important way of shifting the structures of power.

“Everything within the recovery college is co-designed and co-facilitated, so for us it’s about co-designing with the community and about understanding community needs but then every course itself is co-designed,” she said.

“What that means in a recovery college context is we have someone who has expertise from their profession or training, co-producing courses with someone who has expertise by lived experience.

“It gives us a beautiful, rounded perspective of that topic ... it’s about showing there are multiple ways of understanding.”

Ms Carter said this way of learning showed all wisdom and experience was valued and helped those with similar lived experiences to feel validated and hopeful.

Having the college in educational institutions and spaces that were not linked to mental health or other services meant people could identify with being a student rather than a service user.

For us, that role of education is really emancipatory when you consider the idea of how it creates options and opens up possibility in people’s lives.

 Naomi Carter

A community information session is being held on February 15 at Bunbury City Council to introduce the concept and workshop courses needed in the region.

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