How do mental health services integrate recovery?

The uptake of recovery demands a radical paradigm shift in mental health care. The key challenge for mental health service providers, particularly clinicians and community workers, is how to translate recovery from an overall vision or philosophy to the level of services.

Mental health services should promote hope, self-mastery, a meaningful life, and community integration for individuals with psychiatric disabilities; instead, services tend to foster dependency.

For recovery to have an impact, mental health providers need to understand what recovery means. In addition, implementing recovery-oriented services requires a major transformation (Piat & Polvere, 2012) in the way professionals and clinicians work. This transformative change should include:

  • Confronting and restructuring the power dynamics between service providers and people with psychiatric problems
  • Promoting the inclusion of people with psychiatric problems as valued members of the community
  • Creating leadership roles for people with mental health problems
  • Combating stigma and discrimination

For recovery to have an impact, mental health services should also follow best practices and be accessible in a timely manner. Providing decent and affordable community housing is pivotal in the delivery of recovery oriented services.

Recovery at the Douglas

Some clinical programs at the Douglas Institute have already integrated recovery into their practices. The goal in the years to come is to extend these actions to all clinical programs.

The Mood Disorder Program’s User Panel

This user panel is made up of 13 volunteer users and meets every three months to evaluate clinical service quality, answer questions raised by researchers or managers and validate communication campaigns. The user panel brings decision-makers and users closer together. In the next few years, all 8 clinical programs will have a user panel.

Recovery Stories video series

Individuals who have experienced a mental disorder are experts on the topic of their own recovery.

Listening to people’s stories can be very powerful and inspire hope and motivation in others. Researcher Myra Piat, PhD launched the Recovery Stories Project- short video clips of people’s recovery stories.


The Psychosocial Rehabilitation Program’s peer helper service

The peer helper service guides individuals as they develop their personal Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), which is done either individually or in a group. This service will be available to all clinical services in the future.

Family peer helper

A peer helper from AMI-Québec started working at the Douglas Emergency Unit in the spring of 2012. You can read about Sylvie Bouchard's experience in her blog Recovery Talks. The recovery approach of the Eating Disorders Program

Recovery and the notion of hope are systematically raised in staff meetings and clinical discussions. Patients are encouraged to learn to distinguish themselves from their illness and make new meaning of their lives. They are likewise encouraged to make use of self-help resources such as ANEB Québec and websites that offer recovery stories, provide tips to manage relapse, and suggest other ways to strengthen their recovery. The program is also looking to seek out individuals in recovery who can share their recovery experiences.

The Wellington Centre

This is a psychosocial rehabilitation and community support centre. It provides a range of services that help individuals live a normal, significant life in their community through work integration, education and art workshops.

Knowledge-Sharing Day organized by the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP)

Knowledge-Sharing Day was developed based on a client’s suggestion. Its purpose is to share research findings with clients and families via posters and discussions. This event gives users an opportunity to ask questions and suggest ideas for further research. It also allows the research team to explain the overarching goal of PEPP research, which is to better understand and improve the treatment course and outcomes for young people with psychosis.

[Recovery: what is it?] [Recovery in clinical services] [Recovery stories]