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Ruby Whish, Catherine Huckle and Oliver Mason
Recovery colleges have expanded over the last decade, providing educational courses and workshops on topics of mental health and well-being, co-delivered by peer workers…
Recovery colleges have expanded over the last decade, providing educational courses and workshops on topics of mental health and well-being, co-delivered by peer workers and clinicians. This review aims to synthesise findings from the qualitative literature to explore the impact of recovery colleges on student well-being.
A systematic search of the qualitative literature was conducted in December 2021. Four databases were searched: Emerald, PubMed, ProQuest and Scopus. In total, 11 studies met the criteria for review and were subject to thematic synthesis.
Five themes were generated including “A shift in power”, “Being connected”, “Personal growth”, “Adopting the role of a student” and “Meeting expectations”.
Research Limitations Implications
These findings were consistent with previous literature, which suggest that much of the recovery college’s impact lies in its ethos, which promotes empowerment and inclusivity. However, the review also drew attention to lesser explored areas of the recovery college such as how students understand the support on offer from the recovery college and manage their expectations around this.
Several studies lacked methodological and analytical rigour and may well suffer from self-selecting samples leading to an overwhelmingly positive experience. Evaluation by independent researchers is paramount.
It is nearly eight years since this area was previously reviewed during which time considerable growth in the literature has resulted.