Recovery Camp is a person-centred, recovery-focused initiative which invites individuals with a lived experience of mental illness to participate in a five-day therapeutic recreation camp in the Australian bush.
The five-day camp is conducted by University of Wollongong mental health nursing and education academics and a person with lived experience of mental illness.
Camp activities can include a giant swing, high ropes course, rock climbing, a flying fox, bush dancing, art and craft, and trivia.
Recovery Camp brings together people with a lived experience of mental illness and students/future health professionals from the University of Wollongong.
Students from Nursing, Psychology, Dietetics and Exercise Physiology attend camp, allowing them to experience mental health care and treatment that is community-based and recovery-oriented, valuing the lived experience and placing consumers in the driving seat. For Nursing students, the experience can count as a mental health clinical placement as part of their degree.
The program is now held at iAccelerate exploring its potential as a social enterprise.
Project Outcomes and Publications
Each year since 2012, the team have conducted a five-day Recovery Camp for 30 people with a lived experience of mental illness, focusing on promotion of mental health by facilitating the creation of a life of meaning. Due to demand, camps are now held several times a year.
The initiative is also an integral component of UOW health professional education with Nursing, Psychology, Exercise Physiology and Dietetics students also gaining clinical and communication skills through attending Recovery Camp.
Recovery Camp has received numerous awards and been featured in the media. It has also published an extensive number of publications.
About the Researchers
Recovery Camp brings together staff and students from diverse fields, including Nursing, Psychology, Dietetics and Exercise Physiology.
Professor Lorna Moxham is a professor of Mental Health Nursing at UOW and the leader of the Living Well, Longer challenge in the Global Challenges Program.
Dr Dana Perlman is the Director of the Pedagogical Laboratory for Physical Education and Sport at UOW.
Ellie Taylor is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health.
Mr Tim Heffernan is a Peer Support Worker, and person with a lived experience of mental illness, for Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District mental health service.