A 'COLLEGE' has been opened in York to help people with mental health issues take charge of their own recovery.

The Recovery College, York, was officially opened at The Retreat yesterday by the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell.

Anyone over 18 with mental health issues - as well as their friends and family - are welcome to take part in the college-style courses and volunteering to manage their own recovery and to support one another.

A spokesperson for the Recovery College said: "We offer a wide range of recovery focused educational courses and resources aimed at supporting people, in recognising the most of their talents to enable them to deal with the mental health challenges they experience and to achieve the things they want to in life."

Students might have a variety of conditions including eating disorders, depression and dementia. A variety of courses currently include yoga, a course in confidence, assertiveness and mindfulness, and a course to help people prepare to return to work.

Speaking at the opening event yesterday ChrisTaaffe, 33, who is a resident of the brain injury recovery unit York House told of how volunteering and training had helped his recovery. He said: "I used to be a baker and redoing my food awareness helped to re-charge my batteries. I run a tuckshop across the units and this helps my social skills and helps me be more polite."

Lizzy Ferguson, involvement development worker, said The Retreat would be working alongside City of York Council, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Converge York.

She said: "People will get to meet people who have come through mental health difficulties. It's important that people can mix with others in the community and not be too insular."

The majority of courses are charged for but bursaries are available. If you would like any further details about the college or are interested in applying email info@yorkrecoverycollege.org.uk or call Emma on 01904 412551 ext 2606