This paper is the first in a series of two which reviews the contemporary British evidence-base relating to recovery in mental health over a 4-year period. This review uses a systematic approach analysing the British peer-reviewed literature relating to recovery and mental health. The second paper in the series reviews the non-peer-reviewed literature. Recovery is not a new concept; however, it has recently become increasingly prevalent in practitioner, policy and research discourses. In total 12 papers met the inclusion criteria. Five main themes emerged from the analysis: hope and optimism, meaning to life, activities promoting recovery, definitions and discourses and implications for mental health practice. By including only peer-reviewed literature this paper is in a strong position to analyse the theoretical development of the recovery concept and highlight future directions for recovery in mental health services.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing.