Recovery College South East launched by HSE’s mental health services

The HSE’s Community Healthcare services has formally launched the Recovery College South East.

South East Recovery College

Pictured at the South East Recovery College premises in Greenshill, Kilkenny were: (left to right): Amanda Quigley (Peer Educator), Dr. Mike Watts (Recovery Education Facilitator), Clare Fitzpatrick (Co-ordinator, South East Recovery College), Anne O’ Connor (HSE’s National Director for Mental Health), Niall Ryan (Recovery Education Facilitator and Chairperson Involvement Centre Carlow), Millie Ryan (Consumer Panel Kilkenny Mental Health Services), Margaret Sweeny (Recovery Education Facilitator), Anne Buggy (Area Director of Nursing, Carlow-Kilkenny/South Tipperary Mental Health Services) and David Heffernan (General Manager, CHO 5 Mental Health Services)

Free of charge to participants, Recovery Colleges work to create spaces where people can come together to share and learn about recovery from mental health and addiction challenges, using a co-developed and co-delivered educational framework (i.e. expert by self-experience, working alongside expert by profession).

The South East Recovery College is based in a premises in Greenshill, Kilkenny and began in 2014, under the umbrella of Advancing Recovery in Ireland – which is a national initiative that supports a whole organisational approach to developing recovery orientated services. It promotes an educational approach, which recognises that working in partnership with the expert by experience and/or the family member in the planning, development and delivery of services is essential to achieve better recovery outcomes. The approach has proven to be effective in other parts of Ireland and internationally.

Students who enrol for workshops are subject to an enrolment fee of just €5 and by way of self-referral can consider courses that aim to help them manage their own personal recovery journey.

The HSE’s National Director for Mental Health, Ms. Anne O’ Connor was in Kilkenny last weekend, to formally launch the services of the South East Recovery College South East and its premises at Greenshill. Speaking at the occasion, Ms. O’ Connor said:

“The Mental Health Services are in an ongoing process of change. As part of this, there has been a growing emphasis on a whole-service approach to recovery education. The Recover College modules present a situation where the expert by experience and the expert by profession work together to develop workshops that are interactive and focused on recovery and wellness. In the South East, our services are reaching out to people with mental health problems, those that have addiction challenges and those that feel socially isolated and excluded.”

“The concept of a Recovery College is to provide connection, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment through recovery focused education – where the person with the self-experience of distress is recognised as an expert. Recovery Colleges work to create spaces where people can come together to share and learn about recovery from mental health and addiction challenges, using a co-developed and co-delivered educational framework.”

“I am confident that the development of a partnership, in this sense, will supplement the mental health, social inclusion and substance misuse services being delivered across Community Health Organisation Area 5 (Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford).”

Mr. David Heffernan (General Manager, HSE Mental Health Services in the South East) also addressed the occasion.

The Peer Educator, Amanda Quigley, the first to be employed in this role in the South East, gives the following description:

“The Recovery College South East, from concept, to creation, to development and design, has been in the true essence of co-production, and as such a peer educator is employed to work alongside the co-ordinator to develop and promote co-produced recovery education. It is also community facing, in that we liaise with voluntary organisations, non-government organisations, service users, family supporters and private sector business and further educational institutes.”

“This aspect of the Recovery College South East ensures that the door is open to everyone, hence giving all an opportunity to access mental health wellness and recovery education, which will provide the forum for discussion, conversation on all mental health issues under the umbrella of education. It gives people the opportunity to learn together and realise that mental health or addiction challenges are only a small part of the person, and that recovery is for everyone.”

“Our students encounter an enrolment process and have library resources, IT access, learning and study supports and clubs and societies they can join, to ensure that it’s a place where people can learn about all aspects of recovery. Recovery Colleges creates opportunities for people to take the first step on an educational journey, that perhaps through their challenge, had not previously been afforded to them. It also creates the opportunity to influence change in our mental health and addiction services by bringing together all stakeholders in an equal way, therefore de-stigmatising and fostering a culture of hope opportunity and empowerment”

The Recovery College can be contacted by e-mail at or phone (086) 174 6330 and (056) 770 3666

Last updated on: 14 / 09 / 2017