“It’s great that the college can bring people together online”

I have been a student at the Recovery College for three years. I signed up because I wanted to reclaim my life by learning new skills in a safe environment.

I had experienced three mental breakdowns in a short period of time and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The Recovery College was recommended to me as I wanted to get myself back together and continue with my life, my goals and aims.

The college has helped me enormously by teaching me new life skills I can adapt to any situations I may encounter or find difficult. I’ve rediscovered the social side to my personality and made friends and found a wonderful network of support within the team. The college is supportive, friendly, helpful, and a place to meet new people, learn useful skills, and have fun!

During the Summer Term I took a relaxation course online at the college. It taught me ways to calm myself in stressful situations. I was not familiar with using Zoom previously so I accessed it with much-needed help and assistance from the Volunteer and Student Union Lead.

I dislike technology. I’m unfamiliar with it and I find it unnatural and therefore harder to concentrate when on Zoom, but the online class was good because of the facilitators and because it was a small group. It was useful because it was backed up with links and extra learning tools. I found that no matter how difficult things can be, the team at the Recovery College couldn’t be more kind, helpful, and supportive.

The greatest challenge during this pandemic has been remaining positive, keeping an optimistic outlook for the future, a healthy routine, and not slipping into bad habits. My depression got quite bad during lockdown.

I’d been living an isolated life long before lockdown so not much has changed for me, but I miss the freedom of being able to get on a bus and go for a country walk or window shopping which I’m too cautious to do just yet.

Despite my reservations with technology, it’s great that the college can bring people together online so no-one misses out and everyone has the option to join in. It can enhance life and bring people together when they’re unable to meet physically.

Delivered as a partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Brighton and Hove Recovery College uses education in a supportive learning environment to help people with mental health challenges become experts in their own self-care and recovery. The College provides a wide range of courses which are co-produced and co-delivered by people with lived experience of mental health challenges. As a response to Covid-19, we are taking our Autumn Term online.