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‘Health and Hope in your Hands’ – Ireland’s First Online Recovery College Launched

June 4, 2021

As we continue on the path towards Covid-19 recovery, it is more important than ever that people have access to the tools and resources to support their mental health and wellbeing. That was the message from the Innovation Recovery Project, a cross-border mental health education initiative, who has announced the launch of its online Recovery College – – which will bring digital enabled mental health services to a wider audience living within Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

The first of its kind across the island of Ireland, the online college was jointly launched by Minister of Health for Northern Ireland, Robin Swann, and Ireland’s Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler. The online platform will complement existing Zoom sessions and face to face courses currently delivered through the EU INTERREG VA Innovation Recovery Project (€7.6m) managed by Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT) on behalf of the Special EU Programmes Body. will deliver mental health recovery education across 12 counties in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. It delivers a wide range of free, local educational courses which promote mental health well-being and recovery. The Covid-19 pandemic prompted its services to be adapted with a switch to free, online and interactive learning. As of March 2021, Innovation Recovery has delivered a diverse range of courses to over 3,000 people including those with lived experience, carers, and health professionals. Northern Ireland is reported to have a 25% higher overall prevalence of mental health illness compared to England.

The new online recovery tool will adopt a modern, flexible learning experience and provide a range of support, training and practical tools to promote hope, optimism and recovery. The online Recovery College will enable remote online learning for those who do not traditionally engage due to either personal reasons related to their illness, or geographical inaccessibility such as those living in rural communities. Online learning offers improved ease of access for participants, with courses available on multiple devices meaning they can be experienced in the comfort of your own home, avoiding the need for travel. E-learning can also offer cost effective delivery of education due to the reduction in course administration, travel costs, and venue hire for facilitators.

Health Minister for Northern Ireland Robin Swann said: “Mental ill health continues to be a huge challenge for our society. Too many people struggle to get the help and support they need when they need it which has a hugely detrimental impact on their quality of life, and of those around them. This new virtual initiative will help more people access the resources they need wherever and whenever they need them.”

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler added: ”It was a privilege to co-launch the Recovery College website, My Mental Health The Irish Government along with our partners in Northern Ireland and in the European Union, are committed to providing high-quality recovery-orientated services and supports, as highlighted through our ongoing funding of the cross-border Innovation Recovery Project.

Thanks to the Innovation Recovery Project we have had the opportunity to work closely with our colleagues in Northern Ireland, on improving mental health and well-being outcomes of our citizens, both North and South. I am confident the launch of this website will bring us closer to our shared goal of building mental and emotional strength and resilience in our population, through the delivery of a diverse range of education and training programmes across the island of Ireland.”

Reflecting on the importance of the project, Gina McIntyre Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: “Health and social care services, on both sides of the border, face many challenges such as rising demand, limited resources and difficulties with joined up delivery. The EU INTERREG VA Programme is helping to overcome these issues by funding greater levels of cross border collaboration, as well as the development of new and highly innovative e-health solutions. The new online Recovery College, part of the Innovation Recovery project, is a fantastic example of this as it will help a significant number of citizens take greater control over their own mental wellbeing, through professional and easy-to-access digital support.”


For further information please contact Michael Magill at Morrow Communications

Notes to editors:

·       The CAWT cross border Innovation Recovery project is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and match funded by the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland. For more information on the SEUPB please visit

The €7.6m cross border Innovation Recovery aims to empower and enable people to take greater control over their own mental and emotional wellbeing by providing education as a route to recovery.  Three cross border recovery college established in the Ireland/Northern Ireland are part of the Innovation Recovery project:

o   Area 1 West: Derry, Letterkenny, Strabane and West Donegal

o   Area 2 South: Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim and Fermanagh

o   Area 3 East: Belfast, Armagh, Newry, Louth

The Innovation Recovery project partners are the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland); the HSE (Republic of Ireland) and the Public Health Agency and the Health and Social Care Board (Northern Ireland).