Mood and anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorders. People with such disorders implement self-management strategies to reduce or prevent their symptoms and to optimize their health and well-being. Even though self-management strategies are known to be essential to recovery, few researchers have examined them. The aim of this study is to explore strategies used by people recovering from depressive, anxiety, and bipolar disorders by asking 50 of them to describe their own strategies. Strategies were classified according to dimensions of recovery: social, existential, functional, physical, and clinical. Within these themes, 60 distinct strategies were found to be used synergistically to promote personal recovery as well as symptom reduction. Findings highlight the diversity of strategies used by people, whether they have depressive, anxiety, or bipolar disorders. This study underscores the importance of supporting self-management in a way that respects individual experience.
Keywords: anxiety; bipolar disorder; depression; mental health and illness; recovery; self-management.