Coming out of rehabilitation for substance abuse, Simon Webb travelled from Eskdale to Wodonga to try a mental health course – and it was a life-changing decision.
The Mind Recovery College has been operating in Wodonga for the past six months and 60 students have attended courses on the Border, in Wangaratta and Benalla.
Now, the service – where people who have personal experience with mental health share strategies to achieve well-being – will offer courses in Albury.
Mr Webb said the college had “re-affirmed things” after he’d exhausted many avenues for help.
“Suffering from depression and anxiety for such a long time and abusing substances, I went to rehab for three months,” he said.
“When I came out, I was fortunate I found it – it’s easy to go off the rails, but the college is a calming place.”
Mr Webb said recovery strategies coming from people who had been down the same path was something he hadn’t experienced in similar support networks.
“In a group setting, people bounce off each other and you take away things that suit you and if it doesn’t work, you try something different,” he said.
Director Dianne Hardy said courses would be available in Albury from Thursday.
“The education is delivered by people with first-hand experience with mental health, so it provides an inspiring role model,” she said.
“It shapes people’s worlds if they see people like them facilitating that.”
For Dan Montgomery of Wodonga, playing both the teacher and student roles helped him deal with anxiety and boosted his confidence.
“Thanks to this I’m looking for peer support work, and for opportunities for work in mental health,” he said.
“It’s really helped me with my confidence and self-esteem throughout this year.
“It’s been a big process and the word ‘meaningful’ comes to mind.”