Our Views

Blog #1 – Recovery: ‘the great debate’

The word ‘recovery’ is highly contested. For some people, it is seen as just another attempt by professionals and managers to take control over service users’ lives. They believe it requires that everyone with mental health problems must be ‘cured’; it locates all the problems within the individual; it strips people of their unique social, political and cultural context; and is part of a (not so) hidden government and professional agenda to reduce services and force people back into employment.

On the other hand, there are those of us – and this includes ImROC – who believe that the framework of recovery ideas provides fundamental challenge to the way that mental health practitioners practice and the way that mental health services are organised. It puts service users and carers where they belong, at the centre of service priorities and, through the promotion of ‘co-production’ between those that use services and the professionals who largely run them, it attempts to ensure that service developments are planned and delivered by professionals and service users (and carers) working together. This ensures that they are more relevant and more effective – especially if effectiveness is judged primarily by those whose are on the receiving end.

These two perspectives seem so far apart that it is almost impossible to believe that they both started from the same point. How did we get into this muddle? This series of blogs attempts to explore these different ideas and suggest some much-needed clarification and working definitions that, perhaps, we can all agree on.