Learner Experience of an Online Co-Learning Model to Support Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Int J Environ Res Public Health, Volume 20, Issue 3 (2023)


Adult, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, COVID-19, Humans, Mental Health, Pandemics


<p>The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of the population such as increased levels of anxiety, psychological distress, isolation, etc. Access to mental health services has been limited due to the "overflow" of demands. The Recovery College (RC) model, an education-based approach, has addressed this challenge and provided online well-being and mental health courses to at-risk populations. The RC model proposes a co-learning space in an adult education program where learners from diverse backgrounds collectively learn and empower themselves to better address psychological well-being and mental health issues. The aim of this study was to document the experience of learners who participated in online RC courses during the COVID-19 pandemic and the perceived impact of these courses on their mental health. A qualitative interpretative descriptive study design was employed, and Miles and Huberman's stepwise content analysis method was used to mine the data for themes. Fourteen structured online interviews were conducted with a sample representative of the diversity of learners. Five categories of themes emerged: (1) updating and validating your mental health knowledge, (2) taking care of yourself and your mental health, (3) improving and modifying your behaviors and practices, (4) changing how you look at yourself and others, and (5) interacting and connecting with others. Results suggest that online RC courses can be an effective strategy for supporting individual self-regulation and empowerment, breaking social isolation, and reducing the effects of stress in times of social confinement measures and limited access to care.</p>

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