DC Co-Design Graphic Summer 2023[1]

Recovery College: Wellness Learning Hub

What is a Recovery College?

Recovery Colleges are strength-based mental health and well-being learning centres driven by peer education designed to support connection, a positive sense of self and hope. They promote an inclusive and supportive environment that builds on students’ strengths to promote growth, self-agency, and overcome the stigma surrounding mental health (Perkins et al., 2012).

Recovery Colleges offer recovery-oriented courses in a range of topics that support mental health and well-being. Students are empowered to select courses to support their learning objectives and mental health goals. Courses are co-produced by those with lived experiences navigating wellness and those with professional experience. At the Recovery College: Wellness Learning Hub, Ontario Shores Peer Support Specialists and Durham College Peer Facilitators work alongside one another to co-facilitate the courses, with guest speakers being brought in for specific classes to provide subject matter expertise.

What is Peer Support?

Peer support involves at least two individuals with shared or similar experience who engage in a relationship for the development and growth of both parties. Shared experience and sharing personal stories can help validate our experiences, move away from societal stigma, and more towards an understanding and supporting environment. Some key features of peer support are companionship, empathy, empowerment, trusting relationship, helping others understand they aren’t alone, and helping others how to think of solutions based on our own knowledge and experience. As the value of such mutual relationships has been recognized, more formal peer roles (i.e., peer support specialists, peer facilitators) have been created in mental health services.

DC Student Testimonials

“A great initiative to help people know about their mental and emotional wellness that helps to overcome anxiety, depression, homesickness or any negative thought process they are facing due to any circumstances.”

“Recovery college is not my therapist, but rather the friend I can lean on. This wellness group provided me with a safe space to be vulnerable, and in return, it empowered me to help others in a profound way. Throughout my college journey, this group has been my pillar of strength, offering unwavering support and understanding during both triumphs and challenges. Being part of this community has not only transformed my life but also allowed me to pay it forward by uplifting and inspiring others on their own paths to wellness. I am forever grateful for the growth and compassion this group has shared with me, shaping my college experience into one of personal empowerment and genuine connection.”

“I would just like to say thank you for allowing myself and other students to have access to a service like this. Attending school, especially far from my home, has been very challenging for me. But, this program has helped changed my perspective on my university. Today, I see my school as a welcoming space filled with kind, friendly people rather than a place filled with intimidation.”


Perkins, R., Repper, J., Rinali, M., & Brown, H. (2012). Implementing Recovery through Organizational Change: Recovery College. UK: NHS Confederation Mental-Health Network, UK