Mental health recovery paradigm: implications for social work

Health Soc Work. 2002 May;27(2):86-94. doi: 10.1093/hsw/27.2.86.


Social workers have long been involved in developing, administering, and providing services for people with psychiatric disabilities. Critics of the system, including social workers and mental health consumer-survivor practitioners, have noted that the medical model has been a driving force in policy and services provision. This model is detrimental to consumers' self-efficacy and sense of hope and conflicts with a number of central social work values. The article argues that the values and beliefs of the consumer-survivor recovery movement are closely aligned with those of the profession, and that the movement offers social workers a more promising perspective from which to practice. The primary concepts and values of the evolving recovery paradigm are delineated, and implications for direct practice, administration, policy making, education, and research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Ethics, Professional
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / education
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / organization & administration*
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / standards