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Whole Person Whole Life and recovery approaches

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What is Whole Person and Whole Life Recovery?
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What is Whole Person and Whole Life – Recovery?

The concept of the recovery approach for service users is founded in human values and their application by the user, professionals and the service itself. Its objective is to achieve health and well-being regardless of the degree of disability or distress of the individual.

It requires a paradigm shift in thinking from pathology and illness to self determination, life stories, human strengths, hopes and dreams, peer support and control by the user with support from professionals as partners, mentors and advocates.
It should be rooted in cultural, social, religious and ethnic diversity that gives meaning to the persons identity, belief and circumstance.
To promote the recovery approach staff should reevaluate their role in the treatment process to one of negotiation, partnership and trial and error.
Service organisations need to allow and support staff in practicing in this way by adopting a culture of creativity, innovation, openness, encouragement for diversity and recognition for good practice.


About the Whole Person

People want to be regarded as individuals and not to be identified or labelled by their diagnosis or pathology. People want to be in control of their recovery journeys and assisted by services in a equitable and empowering way. All to often people have been slotted into an illness paradigm that disempowers and maintains people within mental health services. Professionals and services need to recognise and harness the capabilities and assets of people with mental health problems. People with mental health problems need to take personal responsibility for their own recovery journey. In this way an individual can take the power to ensure that their unique goals, strengths and needs are harnessed, are fully recognised and acted upon


 

Whole Life And Well Being

A person with a mental health problem has the same basic human needs as anybody. This is how to develop and lead a life that is full of purpose, interest, recognition, contribution, value and reward. A whole life comprising of these needs and aspirations is what most people with a mental health problem are seeking for themselves. Access to health, education opportunities, vocational training schemes, work, volunteering, social networks, sport and leisure and art and culture activities are all important in enabling people to have a whole life opportunity to assist them in their recovery and well-being.

The IMHCN Whole Life approach promotes this by applying a Whole Systems methodology in the design, planning and implementation of a comprehensive integrated mental health system. The Whole system has to have an agreed common purpose and objectives negotiated and owned by all community stakeholders. In this way the components of the System are interdependent with each other and have themselves a well defined contribution to the Whole System. The Whole is the most important and not each component on their own.

In mental health, recovery does not always refer to the process of complete recovery from a mental health problem in the way that we may recover from a physical health problem.


What is recovery?

For many people, the concept of recovery is about staying in control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem. Professionals in the mental health sector often refer to the ‘recovery model’ to describe this way of thinking.
Putting recovery into action means focusing care on supporting recovery and building the resilience of people with mental health problems, not just on treating or managing their symptoms.

There is no single definition of the concept of recovery for people with mental health problems, but the guiding principle is hope – the belief that it is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite serious mental illness. Recovery is often referred to as a process, outlook, vision, conceptual framework or guiding principle.

The recovery process:

  • provides a holistic view of mental illness that focuses on the person, not just their symptoms
  • believes recovery from severe mental illness is possible
  • is a journey rather than a destination
  • does not necessarily mean getting back to where you were before
  • happens in 'fits and starts' and, like life, has many ups and downs
  • calls for optimism and commitment from all concerned
  • is profoundly influenced by people’s expectations and attitudes
  • requires a well organised system of support from family, friends or professionals
  • requires services to embrace new and innovative ways of working.

The recovery process aims to help people with mental health problems to look beyond mere survival and existence. It encourages them to move forward, set new goals and do things and develop relationships that give their lives meaning.

Recovery emphasises that, while people may not have full control over their symptoms, they can have full control over their lives. Recovery is not about 'getting rid' of problems. It is about seeing beyond a person’s mental health problems, recognising and fostering their abilities, interests and dreams. Mental illness and social attitudes to mental illness often impose limits on people experiencing ill health. health professionals, friends and families can be overly protective or pessimistic about what someone with a mental health problem will be able to achieve. Recovery is about looking beyond those limits to help people achieve their own goals and aspirations.
Recovery can be a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth. Experiences of mental illness can provide opportunities for change, reflection and discovery of new values, skills and interests.

What supports recovery?

Research has found that important factors on the road to recovery include:

  • good relationships
  • financial security
  • satisfying work
  • personal growth
  • the right living environment
  • developing one’s own cultural or spiritual perspectives
  • developing resilience to possible adversity or stress in the future.
  • Further factors highlighted by people as supporting them on their recovery journey include:
  • being believed in
  • being listened to and understood
  • getting explanations for problems or experiences
  • having the opportunity to temporarily resign responsibility during periods of crisis.

In addition, it is important that anyone who is supporting someone during the recovery process encourages them to develop their skills and supports them to achieve their goals.


What are the links between recovery and social inclusion?

"Too many services fail to empower their users to 'get their life back on track' and get back into the community."

There is a strong link between the recovery process and social inclusion. A key role for services is to support people to regain their place in the communities where they live and take part in mainstream activities and opportunities along with everyone else. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that taking part in social, educational, training, volunteering and employment opportunities can support the process of individual recovery.

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Publications (date ordered)

Wellness Recovery Action Plan: A System for Monitoring, Reducing and Eliminating Uncomfortable Or Dangerous Physical Symptoms and Distressing Emotional Feelings Or Experiences, Mary Ellen Copeland, Sefton Recovery Group, 2010

 

 

Recovery in Mental Health: Reshaping scientific and clinical responsibilities Michaela Amering, Margit Schmolke, ISBN: 978-0-470-74316-4, Wiley - Blackwell, 2009
Winner of Medical Journalists’ Association Specialist Readership Award 2010
Recovery is widely endorsed as a guiding principle of mental health policy. Recovery brings new rules for services, e.g. user involvement and person-centred care, as well as new tools for clinical collaborations, e.g. shared decision making and psychiatric advance directives. These developments are complemented by new proposals regarding more ethically consistent anti-discrimination and involuntary treatment legislation, as well as participatory approaches to evidence-based medicine and policy.
Recovery is more than a bottom up movement turned into top down mental health policy in English-speaking countries. Recovery integrates concepts that have evolved internationally over a long time. It brings together major stakeholders and different professional groups in mental health, who share the aspiration to overcome current conceptual reductionism and prognostic negativism in psychiatry.
Recovery is the consequence of the achievements of the user movement. Most conceptual considerations and decisions have evolved from collaborations between people with and without a lived experience of mental health problems and the psychiatric service system. Many of the most influential publications have been written by users and ex-users of services and work-groups that have brought together individuals with and without personal experiences as psychiatric patients.
In a fresh and comprehensive look, this book covers definitions, concepts and developments as well as consequences for scientific and clinical responsibilities. Information on relevant history, state of the art and transformational efforts in mental health care is complemented by exemplary stories of people who created through their lives and work an evidence base and direction for Recovery.
This book was originally published in German. The translation has been fully revised, references have been amended to include the English-language literature and new material has been added to reflect recent developments. It features a Foreword by Helen Glover who relates how there is more to recovery than the absence or presence of symptoms and how health care professionals should embrace the growing evidence that people can reclaim their lives and often thrive beyond the experience of a mental illness.

 

Personal Recovery and Mental Illness: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals Part of Values-Based Practice, Mike Slade,  2009, ISBN: 9780521746588
Recovery is a concept which has emerged from the experiences of people with mental illness. It involves a shift away from traditional clinical preoccupations such as managing risk and avoiding relapse, towards new priorities of supporting the person in working towards their own goals and taking responsibility for their own life. This book sets an agenda for mental health services internationally, by converting these ideas of recovery into an action plan for professionals. The underlying principles are explored, and five reasons identified for why supporting recovery should be the primary goal. A new conceptual basis for mental health services is described – the Personal Recovery Framework – which gives primacy to the person over the illness, and identifies the contribution of personal and social identity to recovery. These are brought to life through twenty-six case studies from around the world.
Identifies the meaning and importance of recovery, and describes a new Personal Recovery Framework
Includes numerous case studies from international centres illustrating how recovery is achieved in practice
Answers the question 'how can I work to support recovery?'

 A Definitive Guide To Mental Health Recovery, Jeremy Gluck, ISBN: 978-1-84747-690-6, Chipmunka Publications 2009, A Definitive Guide to Mental Health Recovery by Jeremy Gluck is a unique, experiential guide to recovering mental health. Based on trainings to mental health services staff, supplemented by thoughtful and very original reflections and explorations of this momentous new development in attitudes to the successful transformation of mental health, and including new and unusual articles and interviews with mental health professionals and service user mavericks, this book is indispensable to a more profound and penetrating understanding of what it is like to recover, what it means to recover and why recovery is necessary and indeed the right of services users. Jeremy Gluck is an expatriate Canadian who, with a parallel, successful life in the arts, is now working in the voluntary mental health sector in Wales as a mental health information and research worker. His lifelong experience as a published writer and author has equipped him ideally to write this companion volume to his memoir “Victim of Dreams”.

Recovery: A Guide for Mental Health Practitioners Peter N. WatkinsButterworth-Heinemann Ltd,  2007.  In this book the author charts the journey of recovery from severe and disabling mental health problems. The book's optimistic tone challenges the prevailing notion that recovery is an outcome open only to a minority. It describes the necessary transformation of mental health services into a recovery culture. At the heart of the book are five recovery stories which are a testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit that enables us to rise above adversity. It is these themes that mental health professionals must engage with if they are to be guides and companions to people on their recovery journeys.

 

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Research and Practice

 

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Videos and Presentations

 

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Organisations

 

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Links

Fact sheet on Recovery from the Mental Health Foundation (UK) click here to view. For many people, the concept of recovery is about staying in control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem. Professionals in the mental health sector often refer to the ‘recovery model’ to describe this way of thinking.
Putting recovery into action means focusing care on supporting recovery and building the resilience of people with mental health problems, not just on treating or managing their symptoms.
There is no single definition of the concept of recovery for people with mental health problems, but the guiding principle is hope – the belief that it is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite serious mental illness. Recovery is often referred to as a process, outlook, vision, conceptual framework or guiding principle.

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