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Recovery-oriented support work: the perspective of people with lived experience

Dagmar Narusson (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Jean Pierre Wilken (Research Centre for Social Innovation, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 3 October 2019

Issue publication date: 16 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to focus on individuals who experience mental health difficulties with the services they receive from “support workers” as part of a personal recovery model, this study will obtain individuals reflections, experiences and opinions on how support helps them stay well and facilitates their personal recovery process. Recovery is seen through the lens of the CHIME framework (Connectedness–Hope–Identity–Meaning–Empowerment).


The sample size included 13 people who experience mental health difficulties and are receiving support from mental health care services. The structured interview was designed based on the INSPIRE measurement and the CHIME framework structure. The qualitative content analyses, discursive framing approach and CHIME as a framework made it possible to examine the key activities of recovery-oriented support work revealed in the data.


Participants valued the enhancement of hope provided by support workers and also expressed it was important as they were non-judgemental. Identity and meaning in recovery could be enhanced by sharing powerful stories about the individuals’ own life and health experiences, and those of support workers or others. Inclusive behaviour in public spaces and trying out new interest-based activities together were considered as empowering.


This research helps to understand the value of personal recovery support activities given the societal changes (tension between survival vs self-expression values) and highlights the need for value-based recovery-oriented education and practice.



Narusson, D. and Wilken, J.P. (2019), "Recovery-oriented support work: the perspective of people with lived experience", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 6, pp. 457-468.



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