“Mental health advocacy joins the abolition of slavery, votes for women, and feminism and gay rights as another example of emancipation within Western society”
(Barker et al, 2010)
“The doctors suggest peculiar names to experiences that are exceedingly peculiar to be understood”
This essay aims to examine, through a student nurse perspective, some of the eventual challenges in implementing a recovery-focused approach in Mental Health Services. This will be done by analysing concepts consolidated in the Literature about Recovery and their application to practice, in the light of some existentially important experiences lived by Nike in a Trust committed to a Recovery ...view middle of the document...
ii. Phil Barker, ever engaged in debating the Mental Health Nursing identity in contraposition to a psychiatric tradition;
iii. Mike Slade, prominent scholar with strong engagement towards a Recovery Approach to psychiatry and Mental Health.
This work is based on a Foucauldian critical theory (Foucault, 1970): it is assumed that Recovery aims to promote new meaning(s) and purpose within the limitations inherent to eventual illness (Slade et al, 2011), despite the fact that strictly-defined rituals tend to host the individual in a net of power, with the Service Users’ experiences being influenced by norms and categories of knowledge that are culturally constructed, governing practices and reverberating into a subtly oppressive discourse that is not just a top-down phenomenon, but circulates throughout society, even among those who are oppressed by the system (Foucault, 1970).
RiO - Clinical Information System used to store electronic patient records securely.
RiOn – RiO Clinical notes.
Recovery is more than a nursing model or framework: it is an approach to care (HM Government, 2011), a philosophy (Barker, 2004), a concept (Slade, 2009) that attempts to bring Care before Cure (Benner, 1989), putting forward a tradition that remounts to the Anti-psychiatry movement (Szasz, 1961), the initial works of Oliver Sacks (xxx), the critics of Engel to the biomedical tradition (Engel, 1977), the salutogenic approach from Antonovsky (1979), and the attempt(s) of defining recovery by Anthony (1993) and others (Leamy et al., 1996; Shepherd, Boardman and Slade, 2008).
Recovery is about bringing the individual to the centre – not just as the focus of attention from “the medical specialist”, but also as the very expert on his/her own condition. It is about empowering the person to have the final decision on the course intervention to be followed, being able and empowered to disagree from practitioners’ decision(s) and rationale(s).
It goes beyond the simple cure or remission of symptoms: Recovery is about recognising the personal journey into own terms and meaning(s). It is noticing that there is a life journey that goes beyond and despite the illness. It is about facilitating the person to realise meaningfulness in the journey (Slade 2009). Recovery emphasises hope, emphasises identity, and facilitates the development of meaning and responsibility (Barker & Buchanan-Barker, 2004).
As well summed up by Anthony (1993),
“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, feelings, values, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness” (p. 21).
Reflection I: a Personal account
In my personal journey as student nurse, I had the privilege of collect, mostly, very good...