Community Learning Mental Health Research Project

Scrabble board containing words associated with the mental health research project such as chat, stress, coping, research

A FREE Short Course


Darlington Borough Council Learning & Skills service has recently been part of a national research project to determine whether short adult education courses would benefit those individuals with mild to moderate mental health issues. The courses ran from November 2016 to July 2017 and further details are to be found below. 

We have been measuring the impact of attending a course on an individual’s mental wellbeing using specific assessment tools.

It is hoped that this national research will prove that such courses have a positive impact on people’s mental wellbeing and the evidence will help secure government funding for adult education courses in the future.

Please follow the link to access the Mental Health FE website:

The project has been open to anyone aged 19 years and over who has mild to moderate mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and low mood.

Most courses lasted 2-3 hours per week for a 6 week period.

We would like to thank all volunteers who took part in this project and we feel it has made a difference to their lives. Here is a comment from one of our learner volunteers:

Quoted by S "I've recently done this and I'd recommend it, it changed my life at a time in my life when I was really low" 

The FREE course learners could choose was one of these:

SHINE to help you with anxiety, stress and low mood

This course is designed to improve your confidence and self-esteem to enable you to be your best and help you SHINE more in everyday life. We will explore comfort zones, confidence, self-esteem, mindfulness and living well (healthy eating, sleep etc.)

This image shows a picture of the sun shining in a blue sky to illustrate the name of the course- Shine Laughter Is The Best Medicine card to illustrate the name of the course designed to help learners relax with laughter excerises

Laugh Away Your Stress

This course is designed to help you understand stress, your personal stress triggers and how laughter yoga and other strategies can help. You will learn relaxation exercises and each session will provide the opportunity to share ideas, strategies and experiences, check on progress and receive support from our tutor.

Write For Me

Join this informal and therapeutic 6 week creative writing course and explore how to express your thoughts and feelings through writing. Discover how writing can help us express ourselves and cope better. Whether you are a complete beginner (good spelling and grammar not important) or have experienced the joy of writing before, we will all learn together in a friendly and supportive manner.

man with notebook or diary writing some notes to illustrate the Write for Me creative Writing course Closeup portrait, teacher showing how to create fine arts and craft on mixed media canvas

Re focus with Digital Photography

Joining this informal and therapeutic 6 week course will include in depth demonstration of techniques, explanations as to the function and hands on instruction with your own camera, as well as providing an opportunity to share activities that help you recognise and manage your symptoms. Sessions will often include field trips to local points of interest in order to make practical use of your new skills.

6 Senior friends male and female taking selfie photography which you can learn to do on this course Hispanic woman photographing food which you might do on your course

Create Wellbeing

Creativity can be good for you. Gain confidence and develop new skills, make new friends and learn something fun in a relaxed atmosphere.  Explore ideas and techniques with ceramics, textiles, printing, drawing and painting.

Rejuvenate with up cycled Art

Working with recycled or up cycled materials, you can transform and create whatever you wish through the use of collage, painting, printing, sewing, modelling etc.-or get creative and work on your own project. A great opportunity to express yourself in a hands on, friendly environment.

A group of participants on the course enjoying themselves, posing with some materials

The Learning and Skills Logo The Matrix logo