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Research Groups

Recovery Colleges are a new approach to supporting people living with mental health problems, characterised by coproduction, collaboration and an educational focus. A number of research groups are investigating Recovery Colleges from a range of methodological perspectives. In order to foster scientific collaboration, this pages lists research groups involved in Recovery College research.

If you would like your contact information to be listed here then please email us (researchintorecovery@nottingham.ac.uk) with this information:

  • name of research group
  • website
  • contact name(s) [ideally two] and email(s)
  • 50-100 words about your current / planned study.

NB If you are interested in other aspects of Recovery Colleges, you might want to contact:



Recovery Research team, Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK

Website: researchintorecovery.com/recollect

Contacts: Rebecca Toney (rebecca.toney@nottingham.ac.uk), Mike Slade (m.slade@nottingham.ac.uk)

The RECOLLECT Study is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research under the Programme Development Grant scheme (grant RP-DG-0615-10008), and runs January 2017 to January 2018. The study aims (a) to develop a fidelity checklist and measure, (b) to establish candidate mechanisms of action and (c) to characterise casemix in Recovery Colleges in England. Addressing these knowledge gaps will inform a future Programme Grant application.

The ‘Pathfinder Project’ research group, Stavanger University Hospital and Fonna Local Health Trust, Norway

Contacts: Eva Biringer (eva.biringer@helse-fonna.no), Kristin Ådnøy Eriksen (kristin.eriksen@hvl.no)

The ‘Pathfinder Project’ is funded partially by Stavanger University Hospital and Fonna Local Health Trust and runs from 2016 to 2019. The project aims at strengthening the recovery-orientation of the mental health and addiction services in the southern part of the Western Norway Regional Health Trust. The project is organised as an open-ended network alliance, where community and private mental health services in the region take part in a common effort to facilitate organisational change and societal innovation. The research group is responsible for the evaluation of the planned courses for peer support workers, service users and professional staff, and further interventions and organizational changes.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada

Website: http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/programs/mentalhealth/star.php

Contact: Dr Vicky Stergiopoulos (vicky.stergiopoulos@camh.ca)

Housing First, what next: A quasi-experimental evaluation of the STAR Learning Centre, a recovery education centre focused on adults with histories of homelessness or housing insecurity. The  study will recruit ~200 participants (January 2017 to July 2018) and follow them for one year to compare  health and recovery outcomes of recovery education centre students  to those of a matched cohort.

Sussex Recovery College Research and Evaluation group, Sussex, UK
Website: www.sussexrecoverycollege.org.uk

Contacts: Sara Meddings (sara.meddings@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk), Lucy Locks (lucy.locks@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk)

We have published a number of service evaluations [Dunn et al (2016) Barriers to attendance at recovery colleges; Meddings et al (2014) Co-delivered and co-produced: creating a recovery college in partnership; Meddings et al (2015) From service user to student – the benefits of recovery college; Meddings et al (2014) Student perspectives: recovery college experience). We have also carried out an evaluation of mental health service use before and after attending Recovery College and are currently evaluating Arts based courses at the college. We are co-applicants in the RECOLLECT study (researchintorecovery.com/recollect). We are planning a further research study with a doctoral student from Surrey University to look at mechanisms of change.

Mayo Recovery College Research Group, Co Mayo, Ireland

Website:     Our website is being created at present

Contact:      Rose Mannion (rose.mannion@hse.ie), Mark Garavan (mark.garavan@gmit.ie)

Mayo Recovery College was set up in 2013 as a partnership project between the HSE and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Research has been carried out by means of dissertation on the initial development of the Mayo Recovery College. This piece records narratives from the individuals who founded the Mayo Recovery College.  It describes what each co-founder identifies as recovery, what the recovery college hopes to achieve and the long term hopes and expectations for the recovery college.  The dissertation provides some findings from the initial modules which were co-delivered in the Mayo Recovery College. The next piece of research was an evaluation piece to try and evaluate the connection personal mental health recovery and the attendance at Mayo Recovery College modules.  The most recent piece of research is qualitative research using narrative method grounded theory approach including group facilitated feedback and one to one interviews for those who requested same.  The research question is; how has your recovery journey been since the beginning of September, autumn term. This research attempted to explore the social, educational and environmental conditions in which individual recovery occurs.  There was particular emphasis placed on the relationship between Mayo Recovery College and personal mental health recovery.  The feedback here is rich in content because it contains the personal recovery narrative and explores the journey of the Mayo Recovery College students.

Birmingham Recovery College, Newman University, Birmingham, UK

Contacts: Dr Adam Benkwitz (a.benkwitz@newman.ac.uk), Dr Paul McDonald (p.mcdonald@newman.ac.uk).

The Birmingham Recovery College was established in summer 2016, within the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT). Funding was secured for a PhD student (Imran Ali) to evaluate the development of the college during its formative years. Spanning 2016-2019, this mixed-methods project initially focuses on the lived experiences of those involved in the college; including service-users, peer-support workers, Trust staff and Recovery Committee members, in order to both inform the Trust as well as informing practice externally.

Recovery College East, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Contacts: Kate Nurser (katenurser912@gmail.com)

As part of my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with the University of East Anglia, I’ve been fortunate enough to conduct my research within Recovery College East (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust). This includes a service-related project (evaluating outcomes according to the Questionnaire About the Process of Recovery and the Internalised Stigma of Mental Illness Scale) and a qualitative exploration of personal storytelling for mental health recovery (looking at individual experiences of the Telling My Story course, with an IPA framework). A systematic review of storytelling interventions for mental health recovery was also conducted in relation to the qualitative project. All papers are currently under review for publication.

St Vincent’s Recovery College Research Group, Melbourne, Australia

Website:     Our website will be launched with the first courses in 2018

Contacts: Bridget Hamilton (bh@unimelb.edu.au), Rachael Starbuck (rachael.starbuck@svha.org.au), Matthew Scott (matthew.scott@svha.org.au), Wanda Bennetts (wanda.bennetts@imha.vic.gov.au), Melissa Petrakis (melissa.petrakis@monash.edu).

The St Vincent’s Recovery College consultation and establishment phase, across 2016-2017, has been funded by St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne). A 3-year pilot college will initially run from early 2018 to early 2021. St Vincent’s has implemented the Strengths model in a clinical setting for 10 years, developing a national reputation as leaders in recovery-oriented practice. The service has established a peer workforce in residential, acute and community linkage settings. The research group is responsible for fostering and supporting the philosophy and spirit of coproduction at all stages, from scope, to design, business case, staffing, planning courses, and evaluation of processes and outcomes with consumers, family members, clinicians and community.