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The Possibility of Wellness

Brown, W and Kandirikirira, N (2007) The Possibility of Wellness Mental Health Today, 7 (7). pp. 23-26.

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In 2006 the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) launched a narrative research project to collect the recovery stories of people in Scotland living with and recovering from mental health problems. Increasingly, studies have used narrative or qualitative methodologies as a route to uncovering factors that help individuals towards recovery from mental health problems, and as a means to explore in some depth the nature and meaning of individual recovery.(1) The use of narrative is compatible with the principles of recovery. Narrative often emphasises things happening over time, or a chronological sequence of events, and recovery is often visualised as a journey over time and experience. Ageing and growing is emphasised in narrative literature, as they are in recovery literature. Of more importance, the use of narrative places the narrator, not the researcher or clinician, at the centre of the journey. It has been shown in other narrative studies (2,3) that the process of narrating, reframing, retelling, restorying, reauthoring, questioning and reformulating one’s lifestory can provide a sense of meaning and possibility to individuals. It can also have a positive and empowering impact on a recovery journey, allowing narrators to demystify their experiences and re-focus on the positives. For the research reported here, a total of 64 individuals were interviewed, using a semi-structured interview schedule. Narrators were asked to: reflect on factors that had helped or empowered them on their recovery journey comment on factors that had been detrimental to their well-being and recovery journey discuss what factors had helped them sustain their well-being discuss any learning they had experienced from their journey describe what recovery felt like for them. The results from these interviews provided a view of people’s recovery journeys as they perceived them at the time of interviewing. The aim was to learn from the uniqueness of each individual’s experience and to identify common factors, share stories to inspire hope, and suggest tools and techniques for recovery. Findings would also establish a Scottish evidence base of factors that help or hinder an individual’s recovery from long-term mental health problems, helping to inform policy makers and mental health practitioners while guiding and informing the future work of the SRN.The interviews were conducted by ‘paired interviewers’(interviewer and interview assistant), lasted between 40 and 90 minutes, and were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Additional field notes (observations and reflections) were added by the interview assistants. Initial themes were checked with narrators, after which interviewers and principal researchers collaboratively constructed broad interview themes across the interview population. Using data management software, the complete transcripts were double coded by the two principal researchers, using the broad themes. Themes were further refined through inductive thematic analysis of the data to identify anomalous, recurrent and contrasting features in the transcripts.The data are still being written up in a series of reports focusing on key themes. This article draws on the report focusing on the narrators’ perceptions of the role of identity in recovery. All unattributed quotes are from SRN research participants.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors : Brown, W and Kandirikirira, N
Date : 1 September 2007
Uncontrolled Keywords : mental health, mental health recovery, wellbeing, wellness
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:53
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 12:39

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