One woman’s journey of recovery from mental illness—Hopes, back-up plans, rebuilding self and service support

Kerry Thomas, Debra RICKWOOD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Recovery from mental illness is a personal experience, unique to each individual. The purpose of this study was to explore the changing focus of one woman’s continuing recovery from mental illness, exploring the domains of hope, self-identity, a meaningful life, and responsibility. A case study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with a woman during three separate admissions to a residential mental health unit, and analyzed using a theory-driven approach. Aspects of the service that were instrumental in the woman’s recovery journey were analyzed, using a content analysis of the transcripts. The analysis demonstrated changes over time in the hopes the woman expressed; redefining self-identity was an ongoing objective; seeking a meaningful life involved overcoming addictions as a priority over pursuing hobbies and work; and there were indications she was taking more responsibility for her own recovery. Features of the residential service that were instrumental in her recovery progress were the therapeutic groups, tailored clinical support, support towards self-management, instrumental support, and social interaction. Repeat admissions to the residential unit assisted this woman to progress in her recovery. Her story demonstrates how personal responsibility can be increasingly achieved with the support of a recovery-oriented service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-517
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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