Recovery Camp

Recovery Camp is a person-centred, recovery-focused initiative which invites individuals with a lived experience of mental illness to participate in a five-day therapeutic recreation camp in the Australian bush.

The five-day camp is conducted by University of Wollongong mental health nursing and education academics and a person with lived experience of mental illness.

Camp activities can include a giant swing, high ropes course, rock climbing, a flying fox, bush dancing, art and craft, and trivia.

Recovery Camp brings together people with a lived experience of mental illness and students/future health professionals from the University of Wollongong.

Students from nursing, psychology, dietetics, paramedicine, midwifery, nutrition and exercise physiology attend camp, allowing them to experience mental health care and treatment that is community-based and recovery-oriented, valuing the lived experience and placing consumers in the driving seat. For Nursing students, the experience can count as a mental health clinical placement as part of their degree.

The program is now held at iAccelerate exploring its potential as a social enterprise.

Recovery Camp

Each year since 2012, the team have conducted a five-day Recovery Camp for 30 people with a lived experience of mental illness, focusing on promotion of mental health by facilitating the creation of a life of meaning. Due to demand, camps are now held several times a year.

The initiative is also an integral component of UOW health professional education with Nursing, Psychology, Exercise Physiology and Dietetics students also gaining clinical and communication skills through attending Recovery Camp.

Recovery Camp has received numerous awards and been featured in the media. It has also published an extensive number of publications.



The Team

Recovery Camp brings together staff and students from diverse fields, including Nursing, Psychology, Dietetics and Exercise Physiology.

  • Professor Lorna Moxham is a professor of Mental Health Nursing at UOW and Challenge Leader of the Living Well, Longer challenge
  • Chris Patterson is an academic in the School of Nursing in UOW’s Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
  • Dr Dana Perlman is the Director of the Pedagogical Laboratory for Physical Education and Sport at UOW
  • Shawn Burns lectures in journalism and media in the Faculty of Business and Law


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing   Goal 4: Quality Education   Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals