CMHA Recovery College offers online courses for people with mental health issues

Six core courses are currently offered, with two more to be launched in the fall. Topics include boundaries, communication and friendship, taught through tasks and activities to help people improve.

“It’s a matter of upbringing and psychology, so there’s evidence behind it,” says Walter. “It is also peer-supported. So peers join us to co-facilitate and they have a lived experience.

Peers can connect and chat with people in the course, providing examples of how the materials covered can be applied in real life. Group settings are intended to provide collaboration and support as participants work through the activities.

“It can help people cope and manage,” says Walter. “It also builds on their self-esteem and self-being, and builds boundaries and different things that empower them again, but really give them connection and hope.”

Walter says he wants all participants to feel safe and comfortable as part of the group, adding that the classes are meant to welcome them and help them get to a healthier place.

“We really want to engage with people and support them where they are,” says Walter. “We always say it’s a journey, it’s not a destination.”

Walter wants people to know that just because the staff at Recovery College works in the mental health field doesn’t mean they’re safe from the topics covered in the classes.

“Just because I animate doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced these issues and concerns myself,” says Walter. “So we also offer our experience.”

Walter encourages anyone interested in the programs to contact ACSM to see if anyone could be of help and to find out what to expect.

“I think most of us are scared, because we’re thinking ‘what does it look like? Am I going to be embarrassed? Is this going to hurt me or hurt me? and that adds to the hardships they’ve been through,” says Walter.

Walter says the experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for support as they work to be healthier, and he hopes people will reach out for help if needed.

“The hardest part is calling us or coming in,” says Walter. “We are here, we welcome everyone to reach out.”

Karen O. Fielding