College has positivity in mind

Dianne Dempsey | Bendigo Weekly | 03-Jun-2016

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Students Tony and Sue were happy to speak at the official launch of the Mind Recovery College but with one proviso – that they remain anonymous. 

Which is ironic really as one of the aims of the college is to lessen the stigmatisation that many people experience if they suffer from mental illness.

But it would appear society has still a way to go when it comes to acceptance of the fact that many of us have broken minds.

“If we had a broken arm or a leg that would be OK but mental illness, where you can’t see the wound, still has a lot of stigma attached to it,” Sue said.

Tony agrees. A former health care worker, before he became ill Tony was in a high powered job with a lot of pressure attached to it. 

But when he first became ill he was unable to care for himself, let alone other people.

“I have an illogical condition and have a lot of trouble fitting it into a logical system,” he said.

Both students extoll the benefits of the Mind Recovery College.

Based on an American model, the college believes in the principle that courses have a recovery basis. 

The new college coordinator Sue Hinton says there are already several Mind Recovery Colleges in Victoria. 

The Bendigo college currently has five sessional teachers and some 85 students. 

“This is an adult education model which believes in the benefit of students taking control of their lives,” Ms Hinton said.

The college is an initiative of Mind and is locally supported by the Murray Primary Health Network. 

Classes are held in the Morley Johnson building in Mitchell Street. 

Lessons are free and taught by teachers who have had personal interactions with mental illness.

For further information contact Mind Recovery College on 03 8698 4060 – Dianne Dempsey 

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