‘They enable people to grow within and beyond what has happened to them; discover a new sense of self, meaning and purpose in life; explore their possibilities and rebuild a satisfying and contributing life’
Recovery colleges have a foundation in co-production, bringing together lived experience and professional expertise in every aspect of their work. People are not “referred to” Recovery college, they select courses from a prospectus and attend what they choose to. Importantly, anyone can be a student at Recovery Colleges – people who use mental health services, people who are close to them, mental health staff, people from local communities, and people who are newly struggling with their wellbeing. The ethos is very much that everyone learns collaboratively.
I was going round in circles. I had been passed from service to service and I felt abandoned. I had been diagnosed with Anxiety, Separation Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and finally, at long last after a struggle, Aspergers. Mental health services wanted me to get help with my Aspergers, and the Aspergers Support Groups wanted me to get help with my mental health challenges.
I had fallen between the tracks. I was shunted from service to service without any help or support.
I was recommended to Compass by the Community Mental Health Team, and immediately I signed up for three courses that I felt would help me to address important issues in my life – my anxiety, sleep, and medication. I really appreciated that I was able to talk to a peer support worker, someone who understood my anxiety and had lived experience of my condition.
Compass gave me the confidence to get my life back on track. I attended courses and was able to progress at my own pace, which was so important to me. Compass gave me the opportunity to understand more about my own mental health in a non-clinical environment. I was able to talk to people without any anxiety.
I moved into work after my spell with Compass. I now work five days a week, and I’ve been promoted to a position I enjoy. I’ve made friends and my capacity to socialise has increased a great deal.
Compass treated me as a human being and I hadn’t had that before. I couldn’t see a future for myself before I joined Compass. Now I can.
Ashley is now a core Compass volunteer, working with us to develop new courses around Autism Spectrum Disorder and helping us to reach more young adults.