From surviving to thriving: how does that happen

Mark Bertram (Vocational Services, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Sarah McDonald (Vocational Services, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Publication date: 2 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore what helped seven people in contact with secondary mental health services achieve their vocational goals, such as: employment, education, training and volunteering.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used the practice of co-operative inquiry – staff and peer supporters co-designed an evaluation of vocational and peer support work with service users.

Findings

Service users experienced invalidating living conditions that caused serious distress. These life struggles included: isolation, trauma events and stigma. The impact involved distressing emotions such as: despair, fear, pain and confusion. In contrast, when service users experienced supportive validating conditions (trusting relationships, engaging in valued activity and peer support) they reported being able to learn, change and grow – finding their own way forward, to improve well-being and quality of life.

Research limitations/implications

Qualitative analysis from in-depth interviews revealed a range of consistent themes that enabled the authors to visually represent these and “begin” developing a model of change – grounded in lived experience. Further research is required to develop this model.

Originality/value

The development of a model of change grounded in an invalidation/validation framework offers a different approach – in terms of how people are perceived and treated. This has relevance for Government policy development, clinical commissioning groups and practitioners.

Keywords

Citation

Bertram, M. and McDonald, S. (2015), "From surviving to thriving: how does that happen", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 337-348. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-06-2015-0027

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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