Two narratives: recovery journeys in mental health

Date08 May 2020
Publication Date08 May 2020
AuthorAndrew Voyce
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health,Social inclusion
Two narratives: recovery journeys in
mental health
Andrew Voyce
Purpose The purposeof this study is to compare lived recovery journeysin mental health with recovery
Design/methodology/approach Unstructured interviews with prompts were conducted with two
Findings Some recovery models correspond in part with the live experience of subjects. These
narratives have personal emphasis that is incongruent with the highlighted models. In particular, the
subjectshave a place for therapeutic interventions, i.e. talking therapiesand medication.
Research limitations/implications The live experience of the two people with mental health issues
crosses boundariesof recovery models. Relevant models include those used in peer support;however,
they toodo not fit exactly with the detailed journeys.
Practical implications A varied approach without preconceptions is appropriate to understand the
componentsof these two recovery journeys.
Social implications The medical modelapproach to mental health is not discounted rather it is integral
to thesetwo recovery journeys.
Originality/value This is qualitativeresearch using stated modelsof mental health recovery. In addition
to the principlesof hope, meaning, connectedness,identity and empowerment, the two subjectsinclude
the essentialpart for medication and talking therapies in theirrecovery.
Keywords Mental health Recovery, Unstructured interview
Paper type Opinion piece
How relevant are models of recovery to recovery journeys? While there are outcome
and experience measures that seek to quantify pathways, e.g. through assessment or
self-rating, a qualitative approach can provide insight. So, I set out to explore how
much of a fit there is between models of recovery and personal experience. I referred
to models including Bill Anthony’s, (Anthony, 1993), the Scottish Recovery Network’s
connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment (CHIME) (Scottish
Recovery Network, 2016) and a model embedded in peer support practice (Watson
and Meddings, 2019). I used service user experience to illuminate the aspirations of
recovery practice. To gain a handle on the relationship between recovery models and
personal journeys, I interviewed two individuals who live experience of the mental
health system and who achieved independence with a career in peer-related
employment in mental health. I conducted unstructured interviews with M and F using
a recording device from which I took transcripts of the conversations. I began by
asking the two interviewees to detail their recovery journeys and gave them prompts
along the way after having discussed with them the recovery models I refer to. The
transcripts were reviewed by the two interviewees to allow any alterations they wished
to include, and I stated, at every juncture, that they were free to withdraw at any time
without giving a reason. The interviews took place at neutral venues and there was no
Andrew Voyce is based at
CreativeBexhillCIC, Bexhill,
DOI 10.1108/MHSI-03-2020-0011 VOL. 24 NO. 2 2020, pp. 105-110, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2042-8308 jMENTAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL INCLUSION jPAGE 105

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