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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2008 Mar;15(2):140-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2007.01185.x.

Recovery and mental health: a review of the British literature.

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School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Duncan MacMillan House, Nottingham, UK.


Recovery is not a new concept within mental health, although in recent times, it has come to the forefront of the policy agenda. However, there is no universal definition of recovery, and it is a contested concept. The aim of this study was to examine the British literature relating to recovery in mental health. Three contributing groups are identified: service users, health care providers and policy makers. A review of the literature was conducted by accessing all relevant published texts. A search was conducted using these terms: 'recovery', 'schizophrenia', 'psychosis', 'mental illness' and 'mental health'. Over 170 papers were reviewed. A thematic analysis was conducted. Six main themes emerged, which were examined from the perspective of the stakeholder groups. The dominant themes were identity, the service provision agenda, the social domain, power and control, hope and optimism, risk and responsibility. Consensus was found around the belief that good quality care should be made available to service users to promote recovery both as inpatient or in the community. However, the manner in which recovery was defined and delivered differed between the groups.

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