, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 721-735

Some Recovery Processes in Mutual-Help Groups for Persons with Mental Illness; II: Qualitative Analysis of Participant Interviews

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Previous research suggests that consumer operated services facilitate recovery from serious mental illness. In part I of this series, we analyzed the content of the GROW program, one example of a consumer operated service, and identified several processes that Growers believe assists in recovery. In this paper, we review the qualitative interviews of 57 Growers to determine what actual participants in GROW acknowledge are important processes for recovery. We also used the interviews to identify the elements of recovery according to these Growers. Growers identified self-reliance, industriousness, and self-esteem as key ingredients of recovery. Recovery was distinguished into a process—an ongoing life experience—versus an outcome, a feeling of being cured or having overcome the disorder. The most prominent element of GROW that facilitated recovery was the support of peers. Gaining a sense of personal value was also fostered by GROW and believed to be important for recovery. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the ongoing development of consumer operated services and their impact on recovery.

This paper was made possible by grant No. SM 52363 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services.