Student development case studies

The student development programme has been co-produced to enable students to move forward in their recovery. Many students have benefited, including these four students who have provided us with their stories about how the student development programme has helped their wellbeing, and their careers. You can find out more about the student development programme by contacting us at or giving us a call.

From student to student development co-ordinator

Geoff's Story

After attending courses at the College as a student I took the opportunity to join the Student Development Programme and have been involved in the College as an Expert by Experience since then. 

I have learned new skills and my mental health and wellbeing has benefited enormously from the involvement opportunities offered to me by the College.  Helping to co-produce courses and seminars and the Welcome Journal and being a member of the Student Council has improved my self-confidence and self-esteem.  It means a lot to have my voice heard and have my opinions and lived experience valued.  The Student Development Programme has helped me progress in my recovery and achieve my personal goals, including returning to paid employment.  It has helped me learn and grow and I value and enjoy my life today despite its challenges. 

Giving my time, knowledge and experience has kept me active and connected to some fantastic people.  It has also given me a sense of meaning and fulfilment knowing that I am helping other people and giving something back.  I would encourage anyone looking to improve their mental health and wellbeing to get involved in the Student Development Programme.  It is a wonderful opportunity that is not to be missed.

From student to co-producing, writing and delivering courses

Jeanette's story

It is no exaggeration to say that getting involved with the college through the student development programme has been life changing for me. When I first started attending courses I was at a very low point but I soon learned that recovery was possible. I realized that everyone’s recovery journey was unique: for me it was about accepting that I couldn’t change my situation and diagnoses, but I could live the best life I could in spite of my challenges. I learned skills and strategies to help me self manage my emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, then I cherry picked the ones that worked best for me. As a lover of diagrams, I developed a visual representation of my own recovery ‘tool kit’, which I still carry around with me to draw upon when needed. (picture)

Through the college’s student development programme I identified my strengths and goals, which I broke down into manageable steps as part of my development plan that the college helps me review termly and annually. I have also taken part in a range of involvement opportunities including co-facilitating and co-producing courses and seminars. As an Expert by Experience I hope that by sharing my story I can give others hope that recovery is possible for them too.

Involvement with the college has been a hugely rewarding experience for me. Not only have I learnt new ideas and recovery strategies from others, but I have also tried to practise what I preach, which was particularly helpful during lockdown. Some long dormant professional skills have been revived, and I have also picked up some new skills, including overcoming my technophobia and Zooming like the rest of this brave new world. I feel more resilient now and am able to bounce back when things don’t go as well as I’d like. I hope I may have made a contribution to others’ learning and recovery, which gives me a warm glow of fulfilment. All this has increased my self-esteem, which was on the floor when I first started as a student with the college, and I feel a valued member of the college ‘family’. Most of all, I have met some amazing people and had some fun along the way. Thank you New Leaf recovery and Wellbeing College!

From student to Marketing and Comms officer

Louisa's story

I completed a Marketing degree many years ago and after a lot of disappointment and heartbreak through the years, I struggled with depression which seeped into every aspect of my life; including my relationships, health and work-life. I became a shadow of myself and eventually, I reached rock bottom, losing all confidence in myself and my ability to hold down a job.

Attending the college was a huge part of my recovery. At the time I joined, I was thinking about taking my life. After four months of doing every course possible my depression completely lifted. The courses taught me about self-compassion, setting boundaries and the importance of reflection; which helped me tremendously. It also gave me the confidence to ask for support and to seek for a job that meets my values and fulfils me; something I didn’t focus on before I joined the College as a student.

This has made a huge difference to how I enjoy my life, as after I joined the student development programme, I was offered to work at the College as the Marketing and Comms officer. Now I am back on track with trying to reach my work-based goals. Every day I work here, I am fulfilled. It’s a great feeling being able to promote how the college helps to change peoples lives, as well as being able to actively help those who feel the same way I used to myself.

From student to NHS employee

Story by a student wishing to remain anoymous

After attending numerous courses in my 2 years with the college, I feel I have developed as a person. The courses gave me information around certain topics that I could pick and choose what I think may work for me. The courses taught me the importance of baby steps and resilience which has helped me build a strong foundation to enable to move forward. I loved being part of a group who were going through similar things and I felt a sense of belonging. Hearing and sharing stories meant I was not alone in my journey.  

I learnt that I do not have to define myself as a diagnosis and can dream beyond what I maybe feel I am limited to. There are no such things as indefinite boundaries.

I built up enough courage to attend the Student development programe which taught me how to become more confident, especially within my peer group setting which I then applied to daily life. It was a game changer for me. I then became involved with the college as a expert by experience, which allowed to me help out on courses as a peer tutor, administrator and class support, which I found very rewarding and motivating.

College staff were so supportive, friendly and helpful. From being the quietest in the class, I now have a sense of independence, confidence and hope, belief and direction which I initially struggled with. 

The college is a unique opportunity for those who are looking to learn more about wellbeing and tools that may help in everyday life. I have now secured part-time permanent role within the NHS and I have the college to thank for getting me here.