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GMMH Recovery Academy inspires Australian project

GMMH Recovery Academy inspires Australian project

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Recovery Academy was praised by an Australian government minister, during a fact-finding visit.

The Honourable Alanna Clohesy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier for the Western Australian State Government, said the Trust’s ‘unique’ approach and ‘innovative’ methods would inspire a project for a new Recovery College in Western Australia.

GMMH has hosted a Recovery Academy since 2013, based on research, which showed that learning opportunities help to manage or promote recovery, health and wellbeing in those living with mental health or substance misuse issues. 

With nearly 4,800 students enrolled, the academy offers more than 60 free courses for people with mental health and substance misuse problems, their families and carers as well as health care professionals. Subjects include learning more about living with a condition, different therapies and courses in spirituality and creativity. 

During her visit Hon Clohesy said: “We are a new government - Labor was recently elected and one of the things we promised to look into was what we call a ‘Recovery College’.

“Therefore I am looking at the best examples to take ideas back to Western Australia, where we will work with people with mental illness and service providers to co-produce and co-design a college.

“What interested me about Greater Manchester’s Recovery Academy was the way in which it includes people with alcohol and other drug dependencies. As we know, people with drug issues often suffer with mental illness. Greater Manchester’s academy addresses these factors up front and that makes it unique.

“The programmes seem very innovative and the location of the academy is extremely impressive. Greater Manchester itself seems to have similar issues to Western Australia in that there are a significant number of the population on low incomes. Perth, for example, has been a very affluent city, but there are still a lot of people that have minimal income and a high proportion of those people have mental illnesses. There is a very strong correlation with those factors.

“Greater Manchester seems to have very innovative practices and that is why I wanted to come here to see for myself the work being done.

“When I return to Australian we are going to set up a working group, including people with mental illness, carers and those who work in services and come up with a model that best suits us, drawing on the best examples we have seen in England, including Greater Manchester.”

Claire Watson, Recovery Academy Lead at GMMH, showed Hon Clohesy the facilities at GMMH’s The Curve headquarters in Prestwich. She said: “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved here and it is so fulfilling to see our students join our courses and go on to do great things which support and maintain their recovery, or helps them help someone else. 

“If spending time with us can help Hon Clohesy and her team have similar success in Western Australia, we would be thrilled.”

To find out more about GMMH’s Recovery Academy, click HERE.

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