Michelle McTague stands in front of a small group of people at one of Providence Care’s community sites, located at 533 Montreal Street and speaks about her hopes for the upcoming launch of Providence Care’s Recovery College.
“I want to use my lived experience with mental health to educate other people and help others with mental health struggles learn not how to just survive, but thrive,” she says.
Michelle has joined Ellie Lambert, an Occupational Therapist with Providence Care and the Recovery College Coordinator, as a peer-support facilitator. Together, Michelle and Ellie are educating those interested on how Providence Care’s Recovery College works and how it can help.
Michelle McTague explains her role in the Recovery College at an information session located at 533 Montreal Street.
“The Recovery College model is about educating and guiding individuals along on their journey to wellness,” says Ellie.
There are more than 100 Recovery College’s in the UK and about 20 here in Canada. Ellie explains, that the programming model has proven to be effective for thousands of people, is completely free, available to anyone and is just like what you could find in a post-secondary schooling environment with semesters and courses.
“You’re enrolled as a student, not as a client,” explains Ellie. “We’re not collecting personal health information, just like if you were signing up for school.”
The Recovery College is non-clinical and is an adult educational center. Courses will include collaborative support and education on mental health, recovery and overall wellness.
Classes will be taught in person at 533 Montreal Street and the initial semester will include topics like developing self-compassion, working though perfectionism, coping with stress and expressing yourself through photography.
“We’re going to be creating a safe environment, encouraging a shared humanity that will break down stigma many people struggling with their mental health face,” explains Ellie.
The Recovery College will be launching in January, 2023 with 9 courses initially. Currently, the courses are being co-developed by people with clinical expertise as well as by those who have lived experience with mental health challenges and recovery. That’s where Michelle comes in.
Not only will Michelle be helping in the creation of the content shared in the courses, she’ll also be a peer-facilitator, helping execute the teachings once the classes begin.
“It’s amazing how you can change your mind,” says Michelle. “I want people to understand that you can change for the better and you can live in a beautiful world; you can live with quality of life, even if you have a mental illness you can still be very healthy,” she adds.
Michelle was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 10 years ago and says she has worked really hard to find the joy in the world, rebuilding from what she calls “a really dark place.” She’s now hoping she can help others do the same, discovering their own hopes for the future.
“I want people to feel comfortable and understand who they are, their triggers, and what makes them tick,” Michelle says. “Mostly though, I want to guide people through the jungle of the human mind.”
Ellie emphases that you don’t have to have a mental health diagnosis to benefit from the Recovery College. She says the classroom will be a great place to learn more about yourself and relate to others with an opportunity to learn more about clinical supports available through Providence Care and within the community if you’re interested.
For more information on how to register for Providence Care’s Recovery College click here: