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“The RLC started as a place to go when I was living on the street. Then – once I had a place to live, had reconnected with family, and had gotten other parts of my life back on track – it became a place to go to give back to others who were dealing with the same sorts of problems as I had.” ~ RLC member

PeopleJoinHandsPuzzleWhile we all go through hard times, some of us have the extra layer of having mental health challenges. If you’re looking for support and a place where people understand what you’re going through, Recovery Learning Communities, or RLCs, are here to help. No matter what you’ve been through, or what you’re going through, Recovery Learning Communities are available to support you in your journey to mental health recovery, in any way that looks to you. Supports are offered by people who have been through similar struggles and have skills in sharing their successes and what they’ve learned along the way.

Instead of focusing on symptom management, RLCs create a culture that supports recovery, resiliency, and wellness. RLCs are focused on relationship building, and offer opportunities for growth and learning, as well as resource centers to find information and support. One member shares their experience: “I have met people like me since working with the RLC and now they are some of the most supportive friends that I have in my life.”

There are six regional RLCs, all funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. Each RLC is independent and managed a bit differently, but all are run by and for people “who’ve been there” – in other words, people with lived experience with mental health challenges, and have struggled with the impact of psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, homelessness, addiction, and a variety of other life-interrupting challenges.

They support members to take charge of their own recovery process. Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” They ask, “What happened to you?” and work with you to get to where you want to be, and support you in your journey. As one RLC member shared, “Taking on the task of job searching after an unplanned health crisis (which influenced my ability to keep the job), peer support workers helped me gain the confidence needed to motivate myself in restarting the process.”

To find an RLC near you, click here.


Written By:

Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator

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