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‘Recovery’ approach in mental health is idea ‘whose time has come’

The “recovery” approach in mental health is an idea “whose time has come”, says a charity.

Making Recovery a Reality, a policy document by the Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health, is a bid to present key principles behind the “empowering” recovery approach and the implications for services if they are to steer away from a traditional medical model.

A recovery approach prioritises a social model of understanding and alleviating mental illness. Its roots stretch back to other less medical approaches, such as the 18th century “moral treatment” of the Quakers’ York Retreat.

“Recovery is probably the most important new direction for mental health services,” reads Making Recovery A Reality.

“Recovery represents the convergence of a number of ideas (empowerment, self-management, disability rights, social inclusion and rehabilitation) under a single heading that signals a new direction for mental health services.”

Several mental health trusts say they are incorporating recovery into service delivery. These include Devon Partnership NHS Trust, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, 2007, and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

Making Recovery A Reality is authored by Professor Geoff Shepherd, a clinical psychologist and visiting professor in the health service and population research department at the Institute of Psychiatry; Dr Jed Boardman, a consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer in social psychiatry at South London and Maudsley Trust; and Dr Mike Slade, a consultant clinical psychologist and reader in health services research at the Institute of Psychiatry.

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