Narratives of Recovery from Mental Illness presents research that challenges the prevailing view that recovery from ‘mental illness’ must take place within the boundaries of traditional mental health services. While Watts and Higgins accept that medical treatment may be a vital start to some people’s recovery, they argue that mental health problems can also be resolved through everyday social interactions, and through peer and community support.

Using a narrative approach, this book presents detailed recovery stories of 26 people who received various diagnoses of ‘mental illness’ and were involved in a mutual help group known as ‘GROW’. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of each story, chapters offer new understandings of the journey into mental distress and a progressive entrapment through a combination of events, feelings, thoughts and relationships. The book also discusses the process of ongoing personal liberation and healing which assists recovery, and suggests that friendship, social involvement, compassion, and nurturing processes of change all play key factors in improved mental well-being.

This book provides an alternative way of looking at ‘mental illness’ and demonstrates many unexplored avenues and paths to recovery that need to be considered. As such, it will be of interest to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, nursing, social work and occupational therapy, as well as to service providers, policymakers and peer support organisations. The narratives of recovery within the book should also be a source of hope to people struggling with ‘mental illness’ and emotional distress

chapter 2|10 pages

The medicalisation of human distress

chapter 3|10 pages

Towards recovery

Beyond the psychiatric system

chapter 4|13 pages

Towards equality and reciprocity

Mutual help/mutual support

chapter 8|9 pages

A time of healing

Struggling through fear to encounter hope and trust

chapter 9|13 pages

A time of healing

The healing power of reciprocal relationship

chapter 10|11 pages

A time of healing

Leadership, choosing ‘goodness’, new identities and resilience

chapter 11|10 pages

A time of growth

Successful social involvements

chapter 13|13 pages

Recovery through mutual help

Recovery processes revisited

chapter 15|7 pages

Journey's end and new beginnings