Recovery

At NSW CAG we believe that a recovery oriented service delivery is essential to the recovery of people who live with mental illness. Recovery is a very unique and personal journey, shaped by each person’s own experience with mental illness.

What is recovery?
Recovery is “described as a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness” (Anthony, 1993 in the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008).

The concept of recovery is relatively new, emerging in the 1990s. The shift towards recovery oriented service provision and community based care departs from the idea that institutionalisation was the best way to treat people with mental illness. Since the time of institutionalisation, where people with mental illness were thought to either maintain or worsen in condition, it has now been seen that people who live with mental illness can make positive steps towards recovery and live fulfilling and empowered lives within the community.

It is a holistic approach to illness that addresses all aspect of a person’s life, including psychological and physical needs, as well as social, economic, education, employment, housing and other needs at the same time. The focus is on the individual and their needs first, and on the illness, which is only one part of the person, second. Recovery orientation is not merely about being symptom-free or off medications, it is about seeking satisfaction with daily life.

Key factors of recovery include:

  • Hope
  • Rights
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Education
  • Self-advocacy
  • Mutual relationships
  • Support
  • Consumer input

Recovery oriented service provision in Australia
Recovery oriented service provision in Australia is recognised in the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 , that indicates that “a recovery orientation should drive service delivery”. Recovery is and also is a central focus in the NSW Community Mental Health Strategy 2007-2012 , that seeks to “embed a recovery approach within service delivery”.

Ways that recovery can be supported in the community

  • Opportunities for social interaction, including leisure and sporting activities
  • Opportunities for employment, training, and learning new skills
  • Opportunities to discuss a person’s feelings
  • Participation in the community, including volunteering, membership to organisations, participating in consultations, advocacy and sitting on committees
  • Access to adequate housing and accommodation
  • Access to recovery programs until required
  • Understanding of mental health in the wider community

What needs to be done to make services recovery orientated?

  • Services need to understand how to operate in a recovery oriented framework. This is so that services are able to provide consumers with choice to guide a person’s recovery journey
  • Health professionals and staff need to be accepting of the concept of recovery as an individual journey
  • Adequate rehabilitation and supports must be available in the community through the provision of funding


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