Community learning helps adults with their recovery from mental health issues

Posted on: 13 January 2016

Painting crop1Adults across Devon suffering from mental health issues are being helped with their recovery by a free community-learning project.

Since Learn Devon launched the project in April last year, 180 adults have been given a helping hand.

The project provides a range of free creative, motivational and outdoors courses to help sufferers to develop strategies to help them recover. It aims to help people who have mild to moderate mental health issues including anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. As well as developing their skills, the courses help the learners to build confidence and make new friends.

One learner, who does not want to be identified, took part in an Art for Wellbeing course and is now training as a counsellor as a result. She said the experience had helped her overcome suicidal thoughts. She said: “The course made me aware of what I am capable of doing and the classroom wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

The project forms part of a Skills Funding Agency pilot scheme to develop, deliver, evaluate and share educational approaches to support recovery from mental health problems. Learn Devon is working with local charities Mind and the St Loye’s Foundation (Community Care Trust) to offer the courses.

Participants are referred onto the courses from health services such as Rise, the Recovery and Integration Service.

Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learn Devon, said: “Mental health issues affect adults from all backgrounds across Devon. The success of this project shows that benefits offered by community learning, such as creativity, support and a social network, can make a real difference to the lives of sufferers.”

Learn Devon’s Marie Wellington, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “For a lot of the learners, these courses have helped reverse negative thought patterns, shown them what they are capable of and provided them with hope and opportunities. Many plan to carry on with their learning so they can continue to build a better future.”