Jacob is a Psychology student who attended camp in 2016.
Here Jacob talks about his Recovery Camp experience.
I attended Recovery camp in May 2016 during my honours year of psychology. My dream is to learn how to help people with mental illness, and Recovery Camp sounded like a great opportunity to work towards this dream. I chose to attend Recovery Camp because it seemed like a great chance to meet people with mental illness, hear their stories, and increase my understanding of mental health problems. Recovery Camp also sounded like a great opportunity to spend time in the bush, de-stress and engage in outdoor activities.
Recovery Camp exceeded all of my expectations. It was an incredibly insightful experience. Some of the relationships I made with consumers were very strong, allowing me to understand their hardships and also their potential for recovery. It did not feel like I was on student placement at all, rather like sharing a holiday-like learning experience with some incredibly warm-hearted and interesting people, who seemed to make some huge first steps towards recovery. I enjoyed everything from the deep conversations, to the adrenaline pumping activities, to the relaxation that the venue in the Australian bush provided. It was uplifting to see how confident and happy consumers became throughout the camp. This changed my perception of mental illness recovery as it helped me realise that alternative forms of therapy, like a recreational camp, can be incredibly valuable. I also noticed how us students loosened up over the course of the camp and became more willing to connect with consumers on a deeper level. I think this shows that Recovery Camp is a fantastic learning experience, one that can help students feel more at ease with working in mental health.
Besides engaging in all of the fun activities, my best memories of Recovery Camp are of sitting around the open fire and having heart to heart conversations. It was during these times that I felt I could truly understand what it was like for these people to suffer from mental illness. I would suggest to students attending Recovery Camp in the future to not be afraid of asking consumers about their life, and to understand their problems at the deepest level possible.