• mental health;
  • physical health;
  • qualitative study;
  • schizophrenia;
  • self-management

This study had three objectives: to explore the psychological and physical self-management behaviours of people with mental illness; to identify their motivations for their self-management behaviours; and to develop a framework to understand the generative processes of healthy vs. unhealthy conditions. The participants were eight persons with schizophrenia who were attending psychiatric rehabilitation centres. We conducted semi-structured interviews with the participants on their observations regarding public health nurses' counselling with them. The data were analysed qualitatively. Six categories of health self-management behaviours were identified. The primary motivations that led to the participants' behaviours were ‘getting a job in the near future’ or ‘maintaining my current level of living’. The use of their own methods caused unhealthy conditions when health management was excessively strict or there was a discrepancy between their and care providers' recognition of the appropriate level of self-management.