Help for those suffering mental illness

September 21, 2011 by Ayal Tusia
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Twelve students participated in a unique, year-long Return to Learning Course, for adults who have experienced mental illness. Run in partnership with the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria (MIFV), this nationally recognised course leads to the Certificate II in General Education for Adults.


Throughout the course, students were able to unveil their potential, develop confidence and achieve far beyond their expectations. Student feedback was extremely positive, with one student sharing her enthusiasm:  “I like exercising my brain, finding out stuff I missed out at school and refreshing my knowledge”. Another added “I did not learn anything at school – now I am learning all the time. I especially enjoy working on special projects of my choice. I’ve never learnt this much before!”

Beth McCracken, MIFV course instructor, says the course – designed for adults experiencing mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders as well as learning and physical disabilities – created an environment where students could experience acceptance and respect from their peers and teacher, and allowed them to flourish in positive ways they never experienced before, academically and socially. The small class size enabled individualised support and counsellors were available for students during class time.

The students, comprising of all education levels, were able to face appropriate learning challenges at their own pace as the program incorporated a broad curriculum framework of literacy, numeracy and electives. They also explored techniques of time-management, personal accountability and problem solving which increased self confidence.


An End of Course ceremony, held on 30 August at Glen Eira Villas, was attended by participants, counsellors and instructors and a feeling of accomplishment and success buzzed around the room. The students greatly appreciated receiving recognition, validation and encouragement for their individual achievements.

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