Calgary’s Canadian Mental Health Association is expanding its Recovery College program to Red Deer to improve access to mental health and addictions services.
The association’s Red Deer office will run the Recovery College courses for individuals and families starting in September.
Red Deer executive director Christine Stewart said the course curriculum will be provided by qualified and experienced educators, in addition to others who will provide peer support.
“Support groups don’t have a curriculum. It’s more just sharing experiences. Whereas in Recovery College, we have specific curriculum that we’re teaching with techniques and skills,” Stewart said.
“It’s educational programs and more giving people the skills to manage their own mental health.”
The province committed $3 million to support program expansion to Red Deer, Wood Buffalo, Edmonton and Lethbridge.
Course are free to attend; people will just have to register.
Six options in Red Deer will include an eight-week art of friendship course for people who struggle forming relationships; a four-week art of recovery course to support mental health and addiction recovery; and a four-week building better boundaries course, which addresses relationships and wellness.
Stewart said 11 people have already gone through peer support training, who will provide personal examples and support to encourage others to find their own wellness.
“It’s so much easier to listen to the input of someone who has been there. Somebody who was suicidal for years and now they have figured how to heal that for themselves, or people who struggle with schizophrenia, or depression, and they’re holding down full-time work and have families.
“It’s just so much more encouraging to learn from someone’s tools that they used, rather than someone who has never been there and just went to school.”