Mental health clinicians’ experiences of supporting people living with a mental illness to initiate and sustain recovery
Intended for healthcare professionals
Research Previous     Next

Mental health clinicians’ experiences of supporting people living with a mental illness to initiate and sustain recovery

Ashton Mutasa Social work student, Edith Cowan University, Perth WA, Australia

Aim Mental health services seek opportunities to sustain recovery outcomes beyond service involvement. This study aimed to examine social workers’ (also called mental health clinicians) attitudes towards, expectations of, assumptions about, and insights into, initiating and sustaining recovery.

Method Qualitative interviews and researcher reflections, within a grounded theory methodology, were used.

Findings Participants use interactional styles that nurture authentic relationships with people living with mental illness to support recovery. Their experience highlights the importance of strengths-based frameworks and collaboration for helping clients to develop their identity as a multi-layered self beyond living with a mental illness. Participants invest time and resources in understanding clients’ personal and interpersonal contexts to personalise recovery, and highlight authentic relating, and practitioners’ use of self, as important in supporting recovery processes.

Conclusion Findings suggest that recovery outcomes are sustainable beyond service involvement, when practitioners engage with people living with a mental illness in an evolving process of getting to know their solid and meaningful identity.

Mental Health Practice. 21, 3, 27-34. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2017.e1219


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Write for us

For information about writing for RCNi journals, contact

For author guidelines, go to

Received: 11 October 2016

Accepted: 22 June 2017

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now