Recovery College & Peer Support: White Papers

Recovery College & Peer Support: White Papers

Recovery College is a place where people seeking support for mental health and well-being work alongside their peers and staff. Here they learn skills to cope and reintegrate with everyday life. Students are encouraged to think about their own learning needs and choose from a suite of courses. In addition, some are involved in co-designing courses together with peers, facilitators, non-peers or community experts. This democratization of knowledge and learning opens opportunities for self-discovery, empowerment and creativity. This ultimately contributes to the betterment and health of students.

This white paper establishes the boundaries upon which CMHA Calgary has developed Recovery College and outlines evidence informed practices from the literature. The white paper makes three main points:

  • Principles led practice helps the program remain strong;
  • Adult experiential learning puts the person in control;
  • Co-development informs teaching and course development, which benefits peers and students.

To read the Recovery College White Paper, click here.


Peers are an integral part of the fabric of services delivered at CMHA Calgary. CMHA Calgary’s School of Peer Support not only trains peer support workers but also employs peers in a Welcome Centre and a Recovery College. Peers help to co-develop and co-facilitate courses, manage programs, and support administration. CMHA peers also work with the broader health system such as Alberta Health Services, non-profits and community organizations to shift the overall approach to people living with mental health and addictions.

Ultimately, this paper sets the foundation of the development of a skilled peer workforce, starting with the CMHA Calgary School of Peer Support, and tested through peer practice in the Welcome Centre and Recovery College. While the examples in this paper are specific to these programs,
the conclusions drawn reflect the CMHA Calgary overall approach to peer support. These lessons can be applied to other programming sites and other programs or extended as learnings to new partnerships.

To read the Peer Support White Paper, click here.