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Recovery without autonomy: Progress forward or more of the same for mental health service users?
journal contributionposted on 2018-07-23, 00:00 authored by Louise ByrneLouise Byrne, Stephanie SchoeppeStephanie Schoeppe, Julie BradshawJulie Bradshaw
In Western nations, the Recovery approach has become a widely accepted philosophy and treatment concept in mental health. Yet, community understanding of the Recovery approach remains largely unexplored. This study aimed to investigate (i) people's awareness of the principles underpinning the Recovery approach in mental health, and (ii) the treatment approaches people consider most important, and whether these align with the Recovery approach. To achieve these aims, a random sample of 1217 Australian adults participated in the National Social Survey (QSS) via telephone interview. People's experience with mental health services, the importance they place on various treatment approaches, and their awareness of principles underpinning the Recovery approach were assessed. Analyses were conducted using descriptive statistics. Most participants (94%) agreed that 'regardless of the severity of symptoms experienced and/or the mental illness diagnosis, being diagnosed with a mental illness means there is always hope for a meaningful life'. Moreover, most participants considered treatments in line with the Recovery approach as important. However, few participants (35%) agreed with the principle that 'after diagnosis, the person themselves should direct the long-term management of their mental illness, rather than a medical professional'. Australian people were to some extent aware of the principles underpinning the Recovery Approach, particularly with regard to hope, ability to live a meaningful life, and the importance of support from family, friends, and others living with mental illness. Nonetheless, autonomy was not highly prioritized, with the prevailing view that management of mental illness should be directed by the medical profession.