The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) Recovery College is jointly funded by Maudsley Charity and SLaM, with the greater proportion of funding coming from the charity.
The college enables staff and peer recovery trainers to work together to deliver a unique and collaborative form of training. The training is delivered to mixed groups of staff, service users and their supporters, enabling mental health professionals and service users to gain an insight into their different perspectives.
Recovery is about people with mental health difficulties having the same opportunities in life as everyone else. It is about a personal journey towards a meaningful and satisfying life. It is about hope, control and opportunity. It is about living as well as possible.
A Maudsley Charity grant helped found the Recovery College in 2014 and the charity has contributed £1.3 million to the project. The college offers free courses to people who use mental health services at SLaM as well as carers and staff.
The model means you are taught by a peer recovery trainer, a person who has lived experience of mental illness, alongside somebody who is usually a health professional working for SLaM. They develop and deliver courses together using a fully collaborative model.
The format of the training means that often service users and staff will switch roles helping them to gain insight to a different perspective and feedback is very positive. Since 2014, 2,700 students and staff from across SLaM have benefited from the project.
Julie belongs to one of the teams that deliver training to students. She says, ‘We’ve got different backgrounds, but we share common goals and have the same direction. Service users feel more relaxed about taking part in training when they know it is being delivered in this way.’
She continues, ‘A mixed learning environment enables staff and service users to get another perspective. It can help people when they hear someone else sharing an experience from a different point of view. In this unique environment, we see everyone as a specialist.’
Mark, another trainer and one of Julie’s colleagues, adds, ‘As a trainer, some of the things people feed back to us are so powerful. You couldn’t read what they tell you in a text book – it’s just incredible that every day I am learning from a job where I am teaching.’
Without support from donations, service users at South London and Maudsley would have less access to education and training services such as the SLaM Recovery College. Get involved today and support life-changing projects at SLaM.