Does mental illness have a place alongside social and recovery models of mental health in service users' lived experiences? Issues and implications for mental health education
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 17 June 2011
Influential social and recovery models, de‐emphasising mental illness understandings, form key mandates for mental health education today. This paper, however, aims to question how responsive these perspectives may be to service users, and seeks to review the value of mental illness concepts to social model approaches.
In the context of recovery model concerns with the associations of mental illness notions to stigma and disempowerment, the paper first reviews research concerning service users' experiences of mental illness. It then investigates the roots of mental illness stigma, tracing these back to socio‐historical discourses predating mental illness concepts. Against this background, the evolution of mental illness theories and their value to service users is appraised.
The paper finds that mental illness experiences, linked to experiences of social inequalities, can devastate and form major barriers to recovery approaches; however, the finding that mental illness stigma connects to discourses predating mental illness concepts suggests that the value of the latter can potentially be considered afresh. Against this background, the paper draws out the significance of historical theories of mental illness and contemporary developments, for the promotion of service users' rights and recovery.
The findings have implications for the development of social approaches in mental health education which embrace mental illness alongside social understandings which are just as important in recovery.
The paper advances recognition of mental illness stigma and mental illness concepts as distinct in their origins, and in this context reviews the significance of mental illness experiences and theories for service users and mental health education.
Barnes, H. (2011), "Does mental illness have a place alongside social and recovery models of mental health in service users' lived experiences? Issues and implications for mental health education", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 65-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556221111168913
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