Consumer perspectives on recovery: A focus on housing following discharge from hospital

Authors


  • Graeme Browne, RN, PhD.

  • Martin Hemsley, RN, PhD.

  • Winsome St. John, RN, PhD.

Graeme Browne, Gold Coast Mental Health Service, 2 Bayberry Lane, Robina, Locked Bag No. 15, Robina, Qld 4226, Australia. Email: Graeme.Browne@health.qld.gov.au

ABSTRACT

Housing is a critical element in recovery from mental illness. Without suitable housing, people have little chance of maintaining other resources in their lives, such as supportive social relationships and meaningful activities. This study investigated consumers' perspectives on the recovery needs of people who are living with a mental illness, especially those who might need supported accommodation as part of their reintegration into the community. Good quality housing is a critical element in recovery for people living with a mental illness. Findings indicate that when people become unwell, they can destroy resources in their lives, such as housing and friendships. A lack of financial stability can be a problem and exacerbate other difficulties. Having a mental illness means living with loss, stigma, and loneliness, but having someone who understands contributes significantly to recovery. The literature suggests that ‘recovery’ can relate to the relief of symptoms or from the stigma of the illness, recovering from the effects of treatment, from the lack of opportunities, and from the destructive aspects of mental illness. Findings from this study support these aspects, but also that recovery seems to be more. After spending time with the participants, the authors concluded that recovery also means the recovery of a life that includes supportive friends, living in a community in which at least some people ‘understand’, and of recovering a life that includes activities that give that life meaning. Consumers can make a significant contribution to our understanding of mental illness and recovery.

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