A PIONEERING pilot programme to help patients recover from mental illnesses is to be developed and expanded in Worcestershire.

The ‘Worcestershire Recovery College’ is an innovative, education-led scheme being run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

Sessions are co-delivered by people who have experienced mental health problems themselves and courses completed in Worcester and Bromsgrove have proved so popular and successful that the trust says they are becoming a “vital element in mental health services across the county”.

Participants attend six sessions where they explore what recovery means for them and are introduced to various tools to help them in the process.

They then have the opportunity to attend a 12-week “Moodmaster” course, called Managing Your Emotions, which offers tips and techniques to help people keep a positive state of mind.

The pilot scheme, which is being run through funding from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and in partnership with a number of voluntary organisations, will now be delivered in Malvern, Evesham, Kidder-minster and Redditch before the end of July.

Sarah Taylor-Robinson, practice educator for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “We’ve now completed the course in Bromsgrove and Worcester and both have been successful in helping patients in their recovery from various mental illnesses.

“Some of the comments from the participants have been really encouraging. There are now plans to develop and expand our programme of courses.”

One participants who has completed the course said: “Getting involved in the Recovery College has been such a positive experience for me in my recovery journey.

“As well as giving me the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge, I am also meeting some wonderful people, gaining confidence and it has given me some real purpose and motivation.”

The Malvern course will be taking place at Malvern Library for six Wednesdays, starting on April 3.

In Evesham the course will be at the town library on Tuesdays, starting April 2.

Patients who are in contact with either primary or secondary mental health care teams are eligible to be referred onto the courses, which are free.