CMHA Edmonton Recovery College, Co-Development

The Cause

In May 2019, CMHA Edmonton (CMHA), launched Recovery College in our region. The "recovery learning centre" (RLC) model used by CMHA was introduced as a new approach to community based mental health promotion. It is based on an educational model rather than a traditional clinical therapeutic model. ALL RLC courses are specifically designed to offer a safe and welcoming space where learners can work together with peers and staff who are very knowledgeable about mental health and/or have lived experience to learn skills that will help them in their recovery journey. The courses offered since our launch have been provided to CMHA as part of a provincial scaling project through CMHA Calgary. To create change, innovation and opportunities for growth for our learners, CMHA will embark on co-developing courses which meet the needs of the community we serve in the Edmonton Region. Through co-development we will be able to bring people from diverse roles and perspectives so that those perspectives can be shared and incorporated into courses. The process of co-development is strength based allowing for opportunities for learners and community members to grow these strengths and capabilities. Through partnerships with other community organizations in Edmonton, CMHA will be able to leverage the knowledge and expertise of others who may not normally access services at CMHA to create course content for a wide range of individuals who have their own personal story of mental health or substance concern, or are supporting a loved one. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our course offerings have pivoted to online delivery. Transitioning to an online platform has allowed us to reach rural areas in our region, which broadens the geographic range of people we can serve during this extraordinary time. We've also learned that learners appreciate the on-line approach as it reduces their social isolation. It is anticipated that we will continue to deliver courses through this modality, even after in-person learning options become possible again, because some of our clientele are housebound due to the symptoms of mental illness.

Who Will it Benefit?

The project of co-development will benefit community members who would be part of the following categories:
* Seniors
* Caregivers
* People experiencing homelessness
* People experiencing low income or living in poverty
* People living in group homes or supportive living
* People living with mental illness
* People struggling with addictions
* People living in rural communities
* Students (Post secondary)
* Members of the LGBTQ2S communities