Every NHS mental health trust should employ service users to promote recovery, charity urges

Every NHS mental health trust in Britain should employ service users to promote the principles of mental health recovery to staff, a leading charity has recommended.

Service users should run ‘recovery education centres’ to help radically change mental health care within trusts, says the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.

Such recovery centres should also train people who have had mental health problems to be ‘peer professionals’. They should eventually provide 50 per cent of all mental health care within each trust.

The Sainsbury centre’s position paper, entitled Implementing Recovery: Ten Key Organisational Changes calls for a radical shake-up of mental health services where recovery principles become woven into mental health care.

The recovery principles represent a less-medical, more holistic and social approach to care and treatment.

Last year the Sainsbury centre published Making Recovery a Reality. It presented key principles behind the “empowering” recovery approach and implications for services if they are to steer away from a traditional medical model.

Professor Geoff Shepherd, a clinical psychologist and visiting professor in the health service and population research department at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, said:”Implementing recovery requires a major transformation in the culture of mental health services.

“It means supporting people to take much greater control over the way that they are treated.

“It means challenging stigma and discrimination much more assertively in communities. And it requires mental health professionals to work in a very different way to support service users’ own priorities and their hopes for the future.”

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