Recovery and Mental Illness
That said, the rhetoric regarding recovery has not always translated into detectable change on the ground. This can be traced to a lag between policy imperatives and empirical research- with the former outstripping the latter. This has resulted in a lack of knowledge and critical thinking surrounding the concept of recovery. Fortunately, this research gap is being addressed by social work researchers as we speak, many of whom have been at the forefront of efforts to better understand recovery. These efforts include issues such as (i) definitional haze- just what is recovery? (ii) services- just what constitutes a recovery oriented service? (iii) impediments- what are barriers to recovery? (iv) supports - what are facilitators of recovery? (v) disparities- are specific groups experiencing inequalities in recovery and recovery oriented care (vi) limitations- is the concept of recovery constraining or restrictive in any sense? These are extremely important questions to answer as social workers continue to bear the brunt of efforts to operationalize recovery and implement recovery oriented services for people with a serious mental illness.
Given this situation, the theme of this symposium is simple: recovery and mental illness. In the symposium, speakers will present cutting-edge research on the topic of recovery and mental illness, discussing many of the key issues mentioned above. Transversal to all of the presentations is a critical inquiry into the concept of recovery from serious mental illness, with empirical examinations of definitions, barriers, facilitators and the role of ‘recovery oriented services’ in enhancing aspects of recovery, all from a social work perspective. Implications of the research for practice will be discussed by all five presenters- who represent mostly junior or early career scholars- all from five different institutions. The discussant, an expert on the topic of recovery, will draw together commonalities and differences between the five presentations. He will also detail implications for services and future research. It is our hope that this will be a showcase symposium on the topic of mental illness at the 2013 SSWR, appealing to all those attendees passionate about building a just society for those suffering from a serious mental illness.