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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

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

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

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

Overall results USA

Determination 95%


Medication important81%

Therapist helpful81%


Medication side effects76%

*Being occupied 76% (B)

Psychiatrist helpful71%

MHP unhelpful71%

Overall findings usa

Overall findings USA

*Struggle to recover67% (B)

*Stigma hindered67% (B)

*Consumers helpful66% (M)

Family important57%

*Friends important57%

Managing illness57%

Understanding illness57%

Work important57%

Similarities with qld


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

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

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

Trends suggest:

  • Respectful50%

  • Practical help48%

  • Available40%


  • Unsolicited negative comments 45%

What is interesting

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 interesting1

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 interesting2

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 interesting3

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

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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