Recovery College Community Consultation

Published on 8 Jun 2018

The Western Australian Recovery College Expert Panel is seeking your input regarding information for the development of a draft Model of Service for Western Australia Recovery Colleges.

Recovery Colleges use inclusive educational approaches in a safe and welcoming environment to support personal recovery relating to mental health distress, addiction and substance use issues. In a Recovery College people with lived experience, carers, family members, those who work in the mental health and the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sectors, and interested community members come together to develop skills, and share knowledge and experiences in relation to health and wellbeing.

As Recovery Colleges are new to Western Australia, the Mental Health Commission, together with a panel of community advisors, is in the process of developing a model of how Recovery Colleges could operate. This model will guide how Recovery Colleges are set up in Western Australia. We are interested in your ideas and invite you to take part in a survey to help us make Recovery Colleges relevant and useful for as many people as possible.

To assist you in taking the survey here is some background information about the key ideas in relation to Recovery Colleges.

The culture and operation of Recovery Colleges is informed by the recovery approach. Recovery can be described as, “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential”[1].

Recovery also involves people living a life where there is mutual exchange of contributions between the individual and their community. “A contributing life means a fulfilling life enriched with close connections to family and friends, and experiencing good health and wellbeing to allow those connections to be enjoyed. It means having something to do each day that provides meaning and purpose, whether this is a job, supporting others or volunteering. It means having a home and being free from financial stress and uncertainty. It means opportunities for education and good health care, all without experiencing discrimination…” [2].

Recovery Colleges are based on a number of guiding principles. These principles enable Recovery Colleges to: 

  • be inclusive ensuring accessibility to all those who wish to be part of the Recovery College’s operations and/or have an interest in learning more to support individual and community social, emotional and physical health and wellbeing;
  • be culturally responsive, safe, respectful and non discriminatory in the design of the service model, procedures, protocols and commissioning practices;
  • be person centred and recovery based ensuring a focus on a person’s strengths and wellness, as well as their goals and aspirations.
  • be driven by educational approaches where adult learning theory and practice informs the development of courses;
  • be based on co-production, an ongoing process, in which all aspects of the Recovery College (such as planning, operations, curriculum design, course development, course delivery, training, evaluation and quality assurance) are created by collaborating teams of people with expertise from lived experience and work experience[3];
  • empower individuals and their communities, to increase capacity to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes to enable greater control over the decisions that shape people’s lives[4][5]; and
  • provide an alternative and a complementary option for people to develop their health and wellbeing alongside other resources such as services provided by community based organisations and the mental health and AOD sectors.

You can provide your input as follows:

  • Online Survey: To take the online survey, please click here. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.
  • Telephone: If you would like to provide your feedback as a voice message, up to a maximum of five minutes, please call the MHC on (08) 6553 0639. We request that you:
    1. Identify your name and organisation providing the response; and
    2. Provide contact details (both telephone and email) for further queries regarding the response.
    This phone line is not an emergency or health service. If you need advice on how to access alcohol and drug services please call the alcohol and drug support line on (08) 9442 5000. For a mental health emergency please call the Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL) on 1300 555 788.
    If you need urgent medical help or police assistance, please call 000.
  • In Writing: To provide a written submission, your response can be provided in Microsoft Word, PDF or email format. We request that you:
    1. Identify your name and organisation providing the response; and
    2. Provide contact details (both telephone and email) for further queries regarding the response.
    Send the written response to:

    Planning, Policy and Strategy Directorate
    Recovery Colleges
    Mental Health Commission
    Reply Paid
    GPO Box X2299
    Perth Business Centre WA 6487

Or via email:

Please note that while all submissions are treated as confidential, any information held at the Mental Health Commission is subject to the Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992.

Thanks again for considering taking part in the consultation processes to share your ideas about Recovery Colleges in Western Australia. The survey, written submissions and telephone line are open concurrently from 5 June 2018 until 5:00pm AWST on 25 June 2018.

For any assistance or questions in regards to this survey, please contact:

  • Ms Louise Soia, Mental Health Commission on (08) 6553 0600 or

[1] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. (2011). SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Recovery Retrieved from

[2] National Mental Health Commission. (2013). National Contributing Life Survey.

Retrieved from

[3] Perkins, R., Meddings, S., Williams, S, and Repper, J. (2018). Recovery Colleges: 10 Years On. ImROC Briefing Papers. Retrieved from

[4] World Bank. (2011). What is empowerment? Retrieved from


[5] United Nations Development Network. (2012). Empowerment: What does it mean to you? Retrieved from