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Determining the effectiveness of mental health services from a consumer perspective : part 1: enhancing recovery
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Brenda Happell
The routine use of standardized instruments to measure consumer outcomes is now part of mental health policy throughout Australia. However, it has been broadly criticized for (i) not involving consumer input into the design of instruments; and (ii) not reflecting the aspects of care and treatment considered beneficial for recovery by consumers themselves. The importance of the concept of recovery is increasingly considered in the literature. Despite this, there is a paucity of research describing the effectiveness of services in promoting recovery from the perspective of consumers of mental health services. The aim of this study is to explore consumer perspectives in relation to the factors that promote and impede recovery, and the principles that ideally should underpin the evaluation of services. Focus group interviews were conducted with consumers of mental health services (n = 16) from one rural and one metropolitan mental health service in Victoria, Australia. This paper presents Part 1 of the findings, pertaining to aspects of mental health services that enhance recovery. Two main themes arose during the data analysis process: (i) treatment; and (ii) support and social connectedness. Various treatment strategies, including medication and spiritual involvement, were considered helpful. However, support from both staff and peers emerged as a more important and influential factor.