The purpose of this paper is to explore how those engaged in service user involvement (SUI) initiatives perceive involvement and recovery; whether involvement is related to their recovery process and, if so, how.
An exploratory qualitative method, social constructionist grounded theory, was adopted throughout the research process. Nine semi-structured interviews were undertaken with participants who self-defined as having current or previous mental health problems and who were engaged in SUI initiatives.
Most participants identified explicit links between their own experiences of SUI and recovery. These links represented a connection between the characteristics they perceived to be inherent to involvement and their personal definitions of recovery. In contrast, experiences of consultation and involvement as patient service users was limited and identified as an area for improvement. The core of the tentative grounded theory constructed suggests that individuals found in involvement elements which were concordant with and supported their own definitions of recovery and which were not apparent in their experiences as patients.
The small sample and narrow constituency of participants limit the nature of the claims made by the study.
This study highlights the value of involvement in promoting recovery and indicates the merit of promoting meaningful involvement across the spectrum of the service user experience.
This study offers a unique contribution to the current literature, highlighting the links made between involvement and personal recovery.
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