Thursday, January 21, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Amina Hussain, BSc., MSW, University of Toronto,
Toula Kourgiantakis, PhD, University of Toronto,
Charmaine Williams, PhD, University of Toronto and
Anne Kirvan, MSW, University of Toronto
Recovery is a paradigm with increasing influence on mental health systems and policies in many high-income countries over the last two decades. Recovery is included in the World Health Organization's (WHO) Mental Health Action Plan. The recovery paradigm was introduced in the 1980s by mental health consumers as an alternative to the biomedical model focusing on illness, chronicity, and cure. Many countries, such as the United States and Canada, have adopted a recovery framework for their national mental health strategy, informing social work practice within mental health care as well as addictions. In the United States, recovery is also the primary goal in behavioral health care. The social work profession has a longstanding history of important and unique contributions to the field of mental health and addictions. The recovery paradigm is strongly aligned with social work values and conceptual frameworks promoting empowerment, partnership, and choice informed by ecosystems theory and a strengths-based model. Social worker's core value of social justice can make valuable contributions to advancing how recovery is implemented in mental health care systems. However, social work has also been critiqued for its conformity with dominant structural systems that are not recovery-oriented and perpetuate stigma and discrimination.
At present there has been limited research on the extent to which social workers are incorporating recovery-oriented frameworks with their practice. Moreover, limitations and barriers that may influence the implementation of recovery-oriented care by social workers within these settings has been largely unexplored. Considering the important role of social workers in the field of addictions and mental health, we need a better understanding of how recovery is integrated in social work practice. Guided by results of a scoping review and their diverse clinical experiences, panelists will outline how the recovery paradigm informs social work practice, research, and policy. The objectives of this panel are to (1) discuss the literature related to the recovery paradigm in social work in mental health and addictions, (2) provide definitions, principles, and values related to recovery-oriented social work practice in mental and addictions, (3) describe how recovery is currently implemented in social work practice and education, (4) identify evidence-based practices, and gaps in implementing recovery-oriented social work practice within mental health and addictions care, and (5) discuss innovative approaches to integrate recovery frameworks into social work practice.