What about value for money? A cost benefit analysis of the South Eastern Sydney Recovery and Wellbeing College.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of mental health (Abingdon, England), 2021, pp. 1-8
Issue Date:
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Recovery Colleges assist people in their personal recovery journeys by offering an approach that transforms conventional mental health care by using an educational framework. While evaluations of these colleges have demonstrated effectiveness in promoting personal recovery, scant research has been published regarding their economic evaluation.


To conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the South Eastern Sydney Recovery and Wellbeing College in Australia by exploring health utilisation and direct costs.


The overall costs of the Recovery College sample (reported from 2014 to 2017) were used to derive a per person, per year cost, adjusted for inflation to 2020 Australian dollars. Benefits were determined by analysing pre/post health service utilisation by service users, and subsequently calculating a net cost saving.


There was a statistically significant reduction in Emergency Department and inpatient mental health utilisation following participation in the Recovery College. The net cost savings was A$269 per student per year.


This study indicates that the Recovery College can play an important role in decreasing mental health service and ED utilisation. This reflects reduced reliance on traditional mental health services, thus suggesting that students develop improved self-agency and ability to manage their own mental health.
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