The experience of recovery from the perspective of people with common mental health problems: Findings from a telephone survey

Phil McEvoy, Oliver Schauman, Warren Mansell, Lydia Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For people with common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety related disorders the understanding of what recovery means and what it may entail is less fully developed than for people with less common mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

The aim of this telephone survey was to obtain a clearer conception and better understanding of the value of recovery from the perspective of service users who have experienced common mental health problems.

Data was collected from telephone interviews with 98 service users using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods.

The service users’ quantitative ratings of their subjective improvement indicated that recovery was a state of being that was manifestly different from the experience of being unwell. The data from the qualitative interviews corroborated these findings. A central theme that also emerged from the analysis of the data was that recovery was associated with having a greater sense of balance and control. Service users indicated that this sense of balance and control operated on many levels, however it was most significant in the context of dealing with their most salient concerns and pursuing their personal goals.

More emphasis may need to be placed on enabling service users to identify their salient concerns and pursue their personal goals in order to give them the sense of balance and control they are looking for.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1382
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number11
Early online date12 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Balance
  • Common mental health problems
  • Control
  • Recovery
  • Service user perspective

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