Recovery Colleges: Learning and mental health come together at new learning centers

Mental health. It wasn’t a class at school. So, where can adults in Canada go to learn about mental health and well-being? The answer is “recovery colleges.” The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) already operates 11 centers in communities across Canada. And, thanks to a new partnership between CMHA and Ontario Shores, more will be popping up in the next year.

Recovery colleges, or mental health and well-being learning centers, are gathering steam in communities across Canada. These learning centers focused on mental health and well-being are based on a tested model from the UK, where 85 such colleges have been created since 2009.

In Canada, today, recovery colleges offer a new twist on the UK model. Here, these welcoming in-person learning centers are called by many different names. But whether they are called Recovery College, Learning Centre, Well-being Centre or Discovery College, they are all about empowerment through education.

They are modeled after a traditional college, with its large course offerings and vibrant learning environment. But there are no tests at a recovery college, admission is free and everyone is welcome.

What also sets them apart from traditional educational institutions are the subjects offered. Instead of language literacy, for instance, you might take a course in mental health literacy, or in health and well-being. Even the course curriculum is unique: it is developed by subject experts and mental health professionals, working together with people who have their own personal experience in mental health recovery.

Everyone is welcome

These centers are designed to be supportive learning environments, where you are welcome, whatever your mental health goals. You may have a mental illness, or a mental health problem, including a substance use issue, and you may be on a personal recovery journey. Or maybe you support someone who is. You may be looking for skills to enhance your self-care or your overall sense of well-being. Or maybe you need to develop a little confidence in facing life’s challenges. Whatever your reason, you might just find the right course for you. And you will find an empowering learning environment where the people are genuine, and the knowledge is practical.

To see the online courses of CMHAs across Canada, click here.

To learn more about a center near you, please visit:

Ontario Shores Recovery College (Whitby, ON):
CMHA Discovery College Kelowna (Kelowna, BC):
CMHA Recovery College Calgary (Calgary, AB):
CMHA Recovery College Lethbridge (Lethbridge, AB):
CMHA Recovery College Edmonton (Edmonton, AB):
CMHA Recovery College Central Alberta (Red Deer, AB):
CMHA Recovery College Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray, AB):
H.O.P.E. Learning Centre (Regina, SK):
Well-being Learning Centre (Winnipeg, MB):
Thrive Learning Centre (Portage La Prairie & Winkler, MB):
HOPE Learning Centre (Swan River & Dauphin, MB):
Recovery College Wellness Centre (Durham, ON):
CMHA Recovery College PEI (Charlottetown, PEI):

Ontario Shores and CMHA are also working with interested parties to explore, mentor and support the planning of potential new centers across the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Contact information

For more information about CMHA’s recovery colleges, or to learn more about working with CMHA and Ontario Shores to open your own local learning center, please contact

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