A multi site study what do people say helps their recovery
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A multi-site study: What do people say helps their recovery?. Dr Barbara Tooth NSW Institute of Psychiatry Dr Kalyanasudnaram & Helen Glover Australia. Rationale for the research.

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A multi-site study: What do people say helps their recovery?

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A multi-site study: What do people say helps their recovery?

Dr Barbara Tooth

NSW Institute of Psychiatry

Dr Kalyanasudnaram & Helen Glover


Rationale for the research

Simply, for the original study, no-one in Australia had conducted research asking people to tell their story of what helps


Two Independent Studies –

  • Queensland (1997)

  • USA (2003)

  • Italy ( current)


  • Part 1

    Open ended question

  • Part 2

    Specific questions developed from focus groups, literature & experience

  • Part 3

    Questions about the role of the MHS

  • Part 4 Demographic data



  • Can you tell me about your journey of recovery?


  • What do you understand by the term recovery?

  • What is it about you that has helped?

  • How and when did you know that you were in recovery?

  • Other factors : what was helpful, what was not, spiritual aspect; understanding the illness; health professionals; medications; stigma; adjustments

  • What was it about your services that specifically contributed to your recovery (USA and Italy only)

Part 3 Questions

  • What is it about the MHS that has been most helpful?

  • Have you been able to participate in your treatment?

  • Have you been able to participate in your medications?

  • Did the MHS help you connect to the wider community?

  • Did the MHS help you with your relationships with your family?

  • How could the service be improved?







Admissionsrange 0-30

mean 6

Work F/T 14% P/T 21%

Voluntary 7% Unemployed 58%

Medication Yes 82%







Admissionsrange 1-24

mean 7

WorkF/T 7% P/T 28%

Voluntary 29% Unemployed 36%

Medication Yes 100%


Overall results USA

Determination 95%


Medication important81%

Therapist helpful81%


Medication side effects76%

*Being occupied 76% (B)

Psychiatrist helpful71%

MHP unhelpful71%

Overall findings USA

*Struggle to recover67% (B)

*Stigma hindered67% (B)

*Consumers helpful66% (M)

Family important57%

*Friends important57%

Managing illness57%

Understanding illness57%

Work important57%


Determination 82%


Manage illness67%

Medication SE’s65%

MHP unhelpful61%

Friends 58%

Stigma hindered 53%

Work important -




Manage illness57%

Medication SE’s76%

MHP unhelpful71%


Stigma hindered67%

Work important 57%

Similarities with Qld


Understand illness 81%

Being occupied 32%

Spirituality 49%

Helpful MHP 56%

Psychiatrist helpful -

Accept medication 54%

Struggle to recover 42%


Understand illness 57%

Being occupied 76%

Spirituality 86%

Therapist helpful 81%

Psychiatrist helpful 71%

Meds important 81%

Struggle to recover 67%


Additional questions

  • Turning point:(Qld in brackets)

    Internal 48% (44%)

    External 57%* (25%)

    *19% identified an external event that triggered internal awareness

What is it about the MHS that has been most helpful?

Trends suggest:

  • Respectful50%

  • Practical help48%

  • Available40%


  • Unsolicited negative comments 45%

What is interesting?

Significant similarity across both studies that reinforces the internal and external conditions that help or hinder people in their ongoing recovery:

  • Internal conditions that supports people in their ongoing recovery


What is interesting?

  • External conditions that support self-directed recovery

    Family / friends


    Being occupied

    MHP’s – use their humanity

    (respect, dignity, listen, equality, tried to understand what is important for person)

What is interesting?

  • External conditions that hinder self-directed recovery:

    Medications – side effects

    MHP – don’t use their humanity

    (use covert threats, try to put their ideas onto the person “you should”, perceived power imbalance, hide behind professional barrier)

What is interesting?

  • Over 100 factors reinforcing the complex, diverse and individual nature of the recovery process

  • Implications for services

  • Implications for professionals

    – MHP can both help or hinder a person’s self-directed recovery and it is becoming clearer about what helps and what does not

Some parting comments

  • We need to remember the messages of over a decade ago from Deegan, Fisher and others.

  • MHS and MHP cannot put their values onto recovery, take it over or own it.

  • Recovery is something people do and it is their job to recover in their own unique and personal way.

  • It is services and professionals task to understand what each person wants from us, and understand how we can help facilitate their self-directed journey or recovery

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