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A way to better mental health

Founder and one of the peer trainers at Recovery in mind Angela Ryan says her organisation offers free courses to adults in West Berkshire who are experiencing a variety of mental health challenges

Geraldine Gardner

Geraldine Gardner


01635 886684

A way to better mental health

Angela Ryan

I HAVE often thought one of the strangest things about diagnosing and treating mental health conditions is that there is no blood test or scan that can give a clear answer and no certainty of what treatment may or may not work.

Treatments vary enormously and there is definitely no ‘one size fits all’ – everyone responds to treatment differently.
In addition, the access to support or the type of treatment on offer varies depending on where you live.

However, mental health has one thread which is common to all of us – we all want to live a more meaningful and enjoyable life, regardless of the challenges we face.

I have never met anyone who wants to have mental health challenges and deal with the devastating effect it can have in all areas of your life.

We all want to live a full and worthwhile life – whether that’s work and volunteering opportunities, enjoying social opportunities, having reasonable living conditions, feeling connected to those around us, or experiencing good relationships with family, friends or partners and having a place in the world – we all want to belong and to be part of something. One of the most difficult things in my experience of mental illness was feeling ‘different’ and alone, even though I had good support.

As part of my recovery, I attended a Recovery College in Hampshire. Instead of providing treatment for a patient, everyone attending is referred to as a ‘student’ – ready to learn how to self-manage the difficulties they may be experiencing, rather than ‘receiving’ treatment.

It’s an empowering approach, where the trainers are both those who have professional knowledge and experience of mental health, but also people like me who have significant ‘lived-experience’ of mental health challenges.

I started Recovery in Mind in 2016 because I wanted other people like me, living in West Berkshire, to have access to a Recovery College.

We run courses, instead of ‘therapeutic’ groups, where students learn skills and how to use tools and consider mindsets that might help them to move forward with their lives.

We don’t ask students if they have a ‘diagnosis’ or what ‘treatment’ they may have tried. We encourage them to come ‘as they are’ and to be ready and willing to move forward with their lives.

The first stage is to want to believe in yourself, build confidence that you can ‘self-manage’ your difficulties and set your own goals and aspirations.

There are no magic tablets offered, we don’t have a wand to make people better – if I did I would be immensely popular – and we can’t give you a new life.

Many of our students feel relieved to be among others who have walked a similar journey and to discover that a better life is possible.

If you, or anyone you know, has tried other treatments or approaches and wants to try something new, where they learn to be their own best supporter and to take back charge of their mental health and wellbeing, how about Recovery in Mind?
All our courses are offered free of charge to any adults living in West Berkshire, thanks to the support of the Big Lottery, Greenham Trust, Eling Trust and West Berkshire Council.

Better mental health is possible, leading to a more enjoyable and meaningful life.  

Visit to find out more.

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