Wellness Network Learning Community and the Recovery College Movement

More About Recovery Colleges

Recovery colleges are part of a global movement, aiming to provide courses to anyone who wishes to learn more about wellness and recovery. All of our recovery college courses are co-produced and facilitated or co-facilitated by someone with lived experience of addictions, trauma, or mental health concerns. Recovery colleges seek to empower people to share their own story and experiences, as well as tools that have helped them along their recovery journey.

Co-production and co-facilitation mean that either the creator of the course or the facilitator of the course will have had their own experiences with mental illness, trauma or addictions. They draw from their own life to supplement the course, and speak from a place of knowing and experience rather than clinical study. This personal perspective provides a valuable addition to recovery college courses, and allows the facilitators to share their story and create a genuine connection with the participants from a peer perspective. Participants can learn from the facilitators’ experience, as well as share their own in a safe space.

Recovery colleges have been successful and popular in recent years, because they focus on prioritizing the knowledge and experiences of peers, rather than emphasizing top down professional expertise or approaches to recovery that has been prioritized in healthcare. We understand recovery to be a lifelong journey, not a destination, and having peers facilitate with that lens can help to make recovery courses more accessible for all. Facilitating from a shared perspective of mental health, trauma and addictions can help participants to feel more connected with the material, and to feel safe sharing their own story. While our facilitators come from a place of lived experience, they go through a training program to ensure they are feeling confident and comfortable facilitating their groups.

Recovery Colleges are not unique to the Wellness Network – the recovery college movement has spread around the world, including several in Canada. Ontario Shores has a robust recovery college program that began in 2016 (see https://www.ontarioshores.ca/education/recovery_college).

The Canadian Mental Health Association runs recovery colleges out of several major cities, including Edmonton. Check out the CMHA Edmonton Recovery College, at https://recoverycollegeedmonton.ca/

If you are not able to find courses that you’re interested in at the Wellness Network, please send us a course suggestion – wellnessnetwork@e4calberta.org.

Our Important Values

Self-determination
Consumer choice
Peer support
Recovery oriented
Community driven
Accessible
Lifelong learning

Wellness is Made Up of Different Dimensions

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