The experience of recovery from the perspective of people with common mental health problems: findings from a telephone survey

Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Nov;49(11):1375-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.06.010. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Background: For people with common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety related disorders the understanding of what recovery means and what it may entail is less fully developed than for people with less common mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

Aim: The aim of this telephone survey was to obtain a clearer conception and better understanding of the value of recovery from the perspective of service users who have experienced common mental health problems.

Methods: Data was collected from telephone interviews with 98 service users using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results: The service users' quantitative ratings of their subjective improvement indicated that recovery was a state of being that was manifestly different from the experience of being unwell. The data from the qualitative interviews corroborated these findings. A central theme that also emerged from the analysis of the data was that recovery was associated with having a greater sense of balance and control. Service users indicated that this sense of balance and control operated on many levels, however it was most significant in the context of dealing with their most salient concerns and pursuing their personal goals.

Conclusion: More emphasis may need to be placed on enabling service users to identify their salient concerns and pursue their personal goals in order to give them the sense of balance and control they are looking for.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*