Recovery is about building a meaningful and satisfying life, whether or not there are recurring or ongoing symptoms or mental health problems. The key themes of recovery are:

  1. Agency - gaining a sense of control over one's life and one's illness. Finding personal meaning - an identity which incorporates illness, but retains a positive sense of self.
  2. Opportunity - building a life beyond illness. Using non-mental health agencies, informal supports and natural social networks to achieve integration and social inclusion.
  3. Hope - believing that one can still pursue one's own hopes and dreams, even with the continuing presence of illness. Not settling for less, i.e. the reduced expectations of others.

A new approach

To make recovery possible for people, mental health services need to be designed and operated differently. The objectives of a recovery-oriented mental health service are different from those of a traditional, 'treat-and-cure’ health service.

The recovery approach also requires a different relationship between service users and professionals. This is a shift from staff who are seen as in a position of expertise and authority, to someone who behaves more like a personal coach or trainer.

What does recovery-orientated practice look like?

One of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of recovery-oriented practice has been the lack of clarity regarding what it really means.

How can we recognise a ‘recovery-oriented’ service? How will we know when we have made progress in achieving it?

If we can succeed in creating recovery-oriented services, what kinds of benefits would there be for service users?

What we know about recovery

The Centre's work and that of our shared project, ImROC (Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change), is to investigate how to set up, run and develop recovery-orientated services and the issues that arise from doing so.