Differences of Opinion Concerning Recovery: An interactive quiz.
The purpose of completing this interactive quiz is not to label you as this or that type of person but rather to prompt discussion with your friends and colleagues concerning your values of what mental health recovery ‘looks like’.
The example questions here are taken from a larger study in which we asked a number of Carers, Service-Users, Mental Health Professionals and Policy-Makers to agree or disagree with specific statements. Tests were then carried out to see whether there were areas of consensus and/or disagreement. Because no consistent patterns were revealed, we disregarded whether people were service-users or carers etc. and tested everyone’s responses together in order to identify groups or clusters of similar responses.
Have a try yourself in order to see how you compare with the people who took part in our study.
What the Findings mean….
In our larger study, two definite clusters of ‘similar responses’ were identified:
Cluster 1: Medical – Curative Orientation
The interesting feature of this cluster was that it was totally composed of some mental health service users and some mental health professionals, and all of the carers who took part in the study.
When we interviewed people about their thoughts concerning mental health recovery, some people expressed views that were broadly similar to this ‘cluster’ of statements as outlined in the table above such as:
‘A person being well again, back to the way they were, having quality of life’.
‘The restoration of health, personal meaning and quality of life following a period of ill health’.
[Further Discussion Points]
- Some service-users disagreed with some professionals’ tendency to stick to Cluster 1 values concerning recovery: ‘Professionals, despite words to the contrary, still stuck in reality to a predominantly medical model approach’. Clearly this implies a clash of views: how important do you think it is for all parties to ‘be on the same’ page in terms of what they are aiming for in the recovery process?
- One policy-maker thought that maintaining Cluster 1 values would disempower service-users by leading to: ‘A focus on symptoms and problems rather than building on strengths’. What are your views?
- Are Cluster 1 values attainable? Is it realistic to aim for being ‘symptom free’? Are non-mental health service users ever ‘symptom free’?
Cluster 2: Personal-Social Orientation
People whose answers placed them in this cluster included most Mental Health Professionals, some Service-Users and none of the carers within our sample. This view support broader interpretation of recovery i.e. that recovery does not mean the same thing as, say, medical ‘cure’ for a physical health problem.
Once again, when we interviewed people about their thoughts concerning mental health recovery, some people expressed views that were broadly similar to this ‘cluster’ of statements as outlined in the table above such as:
‘Learning to move forward from a mental health diagnosis’
‘Being able to cope with the bad times and make the most of the good times’
There was also a sense that recovery was less of a landmark or ‘finishing line’ to be got over, but rather a continuous process:
‘[An] ambitious and potentially far-reaching ‘lifelong journey of discovery’
[Further Discussion Points]
- There is a strong sense within this theme that recovery is both personal and individual. Some participants went further and claimed that ‘recovery’ is not always identifiable to an outsider: ‘Everyone’s recovery is theirs’. What difficulties might present in trying to manage the potentially different expectations of carers, service-users, and professionals?
- Do the realities of providing a busy service compromise the person-centred ideal? What are your views?