Skip to main content Accessibility help

Delivering recovery focused mental health care in Ireland: implications for services and practice development

  • S. A. Shah (a1), M. Nolan (a2), M. Ryan (a3), J. Williams (a4) and D. Fannon (a1)...



The recovery approach provides a key organising principle underlying mental health policy throughout the English speaking world with endorsement by agencies such as the World Health Organisation. In Ireland, personal recovery is one of the quality markers identified by users of mental health services and has become central to national mental health policy.

Aim and objective

The aim of this study was to explore the implications for mental health services and professional practice arising from a structured investigation of what personal recovery means for people using specialist mental health services and the extent to which services support their individual recovery.


Ten service user participants in a service initiative were assessed using a novel measure based on an empirically based conceptual framework of recovery. The INSPIRE determines the level of recovery promoting support received from mental health staff and the quality of the supportive relationship as perceived by individual service users.


A consistent pattern of beliefs about recovery in keeping with national guidelines and the international literature was apparent. All respondents indicated that support by other people was an important part of their recovery with high levels of support received from mental health professionals. There was less consistent endorsement of the quality of relationships with professionals and recovery-oriented practice as perceived by participants.


The findings are highly relevant to the development of recovery focused, clinically excellent services. Further work is needed to improve the process of translating recovery guidance into mental health practice.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: S.A. Shah, Rehabilitation and Recovery Team, Mayo Mental Health Service, An Coillin, Castlebar, County Mayo. (Email:


Hide All
Amaddeo, F, Becker, T, Fioritti, A, Burti, L, Tansella, M (2007). Reforms in community care: the balance between hospital and community-based mental health care. In Mental Health policy and Practice across Europe (ed. Knapp M, Mc Daid D, Mossialos E, Thornicroft G), pp. 235248. Open University Press: Maidenhead.
American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV, 4th edn. American Psychiatric Association: Washington, DC.
Anthony, W (1993). Recovery from mental illness. the guiding vision of the mental health service system in the 1990s. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal 16, 1123.
Bird, V, Leamy, M, Le Boutillier, C, Williams, J, Slade, M (2011). Refocus: Promoting Recovery in Community Mental Health Services. Rethink: London ( Accessed 3 February 2014.
Bond, G, Drake, R, Becker, D (2008). An update on randomized controlled trials of evidence-based supported employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 31, 280290.
Borg, M, Kristiansen, K (2004). Recovery-oriented professionals: helping relationships in mental health services. Journal of Mental Health 13, 13.
Cook, JA, Copeland, ME, Hamilton, Mm, Jonikas, JA, Razzano, LA, Floyd, CB, Hudson, WB, Macfarlane, RT, Grey, DD (2009). Initial outcomes of a mental illness self-management program based on wellness recovery action planning. Psychiatric Services 60, 246249.
Denhov, A, Topor, A (2011). The components of helping relationships with professionals in psychiatry: usersʼ perspective. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 58, 8.
Department of Health and Children (2014a). Operational Plan Mental Health Division (
Department of Health and Children (2014b). Health Service, National Service Plan ( Publications/corporate/serviceplan2014/nationalserviceplan2014.pdf). Accessed 15 April 2014.
Department of Health and Children (2006). A Vision for Change: Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy. Stationary Office: Dublin.
Happell, B (2008). Determining the effectiveness of mental health services from a consumer perspective: part 1: enhancing recovery. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 17, 7.
Iles, V, Sutherland, K (2001). Organisational Change: A Review fro Health Care Managers, Professionals and Researchers. NCCSDO: London.
Kartalova-O’Doherty, Y, Tedstone Doherty, D (2010). Reconnecting with Life: Personal Experiences of Recovering from Mental Health Problems in Ireland. Series 8: Health Research Board: Dublin.
Kay, SR, Fiszbein, A, Opler, LA (1987). The positive & negative scale for schizophrenia (PANSS). Schizophrenia Bulletin 13, 261276.
Leamy, M, Bird, V, Le Boutillier, C, Williams, J, Slade, M (2011). Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis. British Journal of Psychiatry 199, 445452.
Lysaker, PH, Roe, D, Yanos, PT (2007). Toward understanding the insight paradox: internalized stigma moderates the association between insight and social functioning, hope and self-esteem among people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin 33, 192199.
Mac Gabhann, L, McGowan, P, Walsh, J, O’Reilly, O (2010). Leading change in public mental health services through collaboration, participative action, co-operative learning and open dialogue. The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services 6 (Suppl.): 3950.
McConkey, R, Bunting, B, Ferry, F, Iriarte, EG, Stevens, R (2013). An evaluation of personalised supports to individuals with disabilities and mental health difficulties. University of Ulster. ( Accessed 24 April 2014.
McFarlane, J, Street, P, Crown, E, Jeffers, A (2009). ‘Recovery’ – towards integration into an Irish community mental health team. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine 26, 197201.
Mental Health Commission (2005a). Quality in Mental Health-Yours Views. Mental Health Commission: Dublin.
Mental Health Commission (2005b). A Vision for a Recovery Model in Irish Mental Health Service. Mental Health Commission: Dublin.
Mental Health Commission (2007). Quality Frame-Work for Mental Health Services in Ireland. Mental Health Commission: Dublin.
Mental Health Commission (2008). A Recovery Approach within the Irish Mental Health Services: A Framework for Development. Mental Health Commission: Dublin.
Mental Health Commission New Zealand (1997). A Travel Guide: For People on the Journeys Towards Equality, Respect and Rights for People who Experience Mental Illness. New Zealand Mental Health Commission: Wellington.
Morgan, J (2007). ‘Giving Up the Blame Culture’. Risk Assessment and Risk Management in Psychiatric Practice. A briefing document for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Royal College of Psychiatrists: London.
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003). The President’s New Freedom Commission on mental health. Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. The Carter Centre: Washington.
Porter, Z, Simpson, B (2013). Preparing to introduce personal health budgets. Nursing Managers 20, 1823.
Repper, J, Breeze, J (2007). User and carer involvement in the training and education of health professionals: a review of the literature. International Journal of Nursing Studies 44, 511519.
Repper, J, Carter, T (2011). A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services. Journal of Mental Health 20, 392411.
Repper, J, Perkins, R (2003). Social Inclusion and Recovery: a Model for Mental Health Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences: London.
Revans, R (1982). What is action learning? Journal of Management Development 1, 6475.
Russinova, Z, Rogers, E, Ellison, M, Lyass, A (2011). Recovery-promoting professional competencies: perspectives of mental health consumers, consumer-providers and providers. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 34, 9.
Shattell, M, Starr, S, Thomas, S (2007). ‘Take my hand, help me out’: mental health health service recipients’ experience of the therapeutic relationship. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 16, 274284.
Slade, M (2009). Personal Recovery and Mental Illness: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.
Warner, R (2009). Recovery from schizophrenia and the recovery model. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 22, 374380.
Whitley, R, Gingerich, S, Lutz, WJ, Mueser, KT (2009). Implementing the illness management and recovery program in community mental health settings: facilitators and barriers. Psychiatric Services 60, 202209.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed