Buckingham recovery college launched today, a new educational environment for people who are accessing mental health services in Buckinghamshire, their supporters, carers, staff, volunteers and students.
Buckingham recovery collage's mission statement is "To inspire hope in people, to empower them to take control of their own recovery through learning. The Recovery College uses an educational approach to support people on their recovery journey.
Using an empowering and educational approach to mental health recovery Buckinghamshire Recovery College is run for people who use mental health services by people who have experienced or live with mental ill health themselves.
These lived experience tutors work alongside health professionals to co-produce and co-deliver courses and workshops offering people the knowledge, skills and support to manage their health.
It offers an innovative alternative or accompaniment to the more traditional therapeutic approach to mental healthcare.
The college operates on a hub and spokes model offering support to people across Buckinghamshire including Aylesbury, Wycombe and Milton Keynes. The hub is based at the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury and courses take place at venues across the county.
Russell Brand, guest speaker for the opening event shared his experiences with mental health professionals: "The great thing about this college is that is provides a different more compassionate approach to mental health and addiction.
"I want to share honestly my experiences with addiction and mental health issues.
"First when I came to the attention of the public services was around when I was 14.
"When your inner life overwhelms your external experience, and it contravenes our social consensus of what normal is.
"When I was a little kid i felt separate, distinct and anxious about my role in the world.
"I've had mental health issues for as long as I've had mental health. I think probably we all do. I think there is the potential for change when we work together communally with an agenda.
"Community, support and lateral support are areas we can't compromise on."