Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 7, pp 747–756 | Cite as

A Mixed-Methods Study of the Recovery Concept, “A Meaningful Day,” in Community Mental Health Services for Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses

  • Neely A. L. Myers
  • Kelly Smith
  • Alicia Pope
  • Yazeed Alolayan
  • Beth Broussard
  • Nora Haynes
  • Michael T. Compton
Original Paper


The recovery concept encompasses overcoming or managing one’s illness, being physically and emotionally healthy, and finding meaningful purpose through work, school, or volunteering, which connects one to others in mutually fulfilling ways. Using a mixed-methods approach, we studied the emphasis on “a meaningful day” in the new Opening Doors to Recovery (ODR) program in southeast Georgia. Among 100 participants, we measured the meaningful day construct using three quantitative items at baseline (hospital discharge) and at 4-, 8-, and 12-month follow-up, finding statistically significant linear trends over time for all three measures. Complementary qualitative interviews with 30 individuals (ODR participants, family members, and ODR’s Community Navigation Specialists and program leaders) revealed themes pertaining to companionship, productivity, achieving stability, and autonomy, as well as the concern about insufficient resources. The concept of “a meaningful day” can be a focus of clinical attention and measured as a person-centered outcome for clients served by recovery-oriented community mental health services.


Community mental health Meaningful day Recovery Serious mental illness 



This study was supported by a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to the last author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no financial conflicts of interest.

Ethical Standards

This research involved human subjects and was approved by all relevant institutional review boards (IRBs). The study was conducted, and informed consent obtained, following IRB-approved processes. All authors acknowledge responsibility for their contribution to this study and this article.


  1. Adams, J. R., & Drake, R. E. (2006). Shared decision-making and evidence-based practice. Community Mental Health Journal, 42(1), 87–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anthony, W. A. (2000). A recovery-oriented service system: Setting some system level standards. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 24(2), 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anthony, W., Rogers, E. S., & Farkas, M. (2003). Research on evidence-based practice: Future directions in an era of recovery. Community Mental Health Journal, 39, 101–114.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. (2001). Principles of biomedical ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bellack, A. S. (2006). Scientific and consumer models of recovery in schizophrenia: Concordance, contrasts, and implications. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32(3), 432–442.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Bledsoe, S. E., Lukens, E., Onken, S., Bellamy, J. L., & Cardillo-Geller, L. (2008). Mental illness, evidence-based practice, and recovery: Is there compatibility between service-user-identified recovery-facilitating and -hindering factors and empirically supported interventions? Best Practice In Mental Health, 4(2), 34–58.Google Scholar
  7. Browne, G., Hemsley, M., & St. John, W. (2008). Consumer perspectives on recovery: A focus on housing following discharge from hospital. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 17(6), 402–409.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke, S. P., Oades, L. G., Crowe, T. P., Caputi, P., & Deane, F. P. (2009). The role of symptom distress and goal attainment in promoting aspects of psychological recovery for consumers with enduring mental illness. Journal of Mental Health, 18(5), 389–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Compton, M. T., Hankerson-Dyson, D., Broussard, B., Druss, B. G., Haynes, N., Strode, P., et al. (2011). Opening doors to recovery: A novel community navigation service for people with serious mental illnesses. Psychiatric Services, 62, 1270–1272.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Compton, M. T., Kelley, M. E., Pope, A., Smith, K., Broussard, B., Reed, T. A., et al. (2015). Opening doors to recovery: Recidivism and recovery among persons with serious mental illnesses and repeated hospitalizations. Psychiatric Services. doi: 10.1176/
  11. Crosse, C. (2003). A meaningful day: Integrating psychosocial rehabilitation into community treatment of schizophrenia. Medical Journal of Australia, 178(9), S76.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Davidson, L., Borg, M., Marin, I., Topor, A., Mezzina, R., & Sells, D. (2005). Processes of recovery in serious mental illness: Findings from a multinational study. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 8(3), 177–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davidson, L., & Roe, D. (2007). Recovery from versus recovery in serious mental illness: One strategy for lessening confusion plaguing recovery. Journal of Mental Health, 16(4), 459–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deegan, P.E. (1996). Recovery and the conspiracy of hope. In: Sixth annual mental health services conference of Australia and New Zealand, 1996.Google Scholar
  15. Deegan, P. E. (2002). Recovery as a self-directed process of healing and transformation. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 17(3/4), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freeman, A., Malone, J., & Hunt, G. E. (2004). A statewide survey of high-support services for people with chronic mental illness: Assessment of needs for care, level of functioning and satisfaction. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38(10), 811–818.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Frese, F. J., & Davis, W. W. (1997). The consumer-survivor movement, recovery and consumer professionals. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28, 243–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hopkins, G. (2005). Better days. Community Care, 1597, 42–43.Google Scholar
  19. Hopper, K. (2007). Rethinking social recovery in schizophrenia: What a capabilities approach might offer. Social Science and Medicine, 65(5), 868–879.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Lapierre, S., Dube, M., Bouffard, L., & Alain, M. (2007). Addressing suicidal ideations through the realization of meaningful personal goals. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 28(1), 16–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lecrubier, Y., Sheehan, D. V., Weiller, E., Amorim, P., Bonora, I., Harnett Sheehan, K., et al. (1997). The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). A short diagnostic structured interview: Reliability and validity according to the CIDI. European Psychiatry, 12(5), 224–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liberman, R., & Kopelowicz, A. (2002). Recovery from schizophrenia: A challenge for the 21st century. International Review of Psychiatry, 14(4), 245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liberman, R. P., Kopelowicz, A., Ventura, J., & Gutkind, D. (2002). Operational criteria and factors related to recovery from schizophrenia. International Review of Psychiatry, 14, 256–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Myers, N. (2015). Recovery's edge: An ethnography of mental health care and moral agency. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Myers, N. A. L., Alolayan, Y., Smith, K., Pope, S. A., Broussard, B., Haynes, N., & Compton, M. T. (2015). A potential role for family members in mental health care delivery: The family Community Navigation Specialist. Psychiatric Services, 66, 653–655.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Nudel, C. (2009). Firewalkers: Madness, beauty and mystery. Charlottesville, VA: VOCAL.Google Scholar
  27. Overall, J. E., & Gorham, D. R. (1962). The brief psychiatric rating scale. Psychological Reports, 10, 799–812.Google Scholar
  28. Ridgway, P., McDiarmid, D., Davidson, L., Bayes, J., & Ratzlaff, S. (2002). Pathways to recovery: A strengths recovery self help workbook. Auburn Hills, MI: Data Production Corporation.Google Scholar
  29. Russinova, Z. (1999). Providers’ hope-inspiring competence as a factor optimizing psychiatric rehabilitation outcomes. Journal of Rehabilitation, 65, 50–57.Google Scholar
  30. Saks, E. (2007). The center cannot hold: My journey through madness. New York: Hyperion.Google Scholar
  31. Schiller, L., & Bennet, A. (1996). The quiet room: A journey out of the torment of madness. New York: Warner Books Edition.Google Scholar
  32. Torgalsboen, A. K., & Rund, B. R. (2002). Lessons learned from three studies of recovery from schizophrenia. International Review of Psychiatry, 14, 312–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Whitehorn, D., Brown, J., Richard, J., et al. (2002). Multiple dimensions of recovery in early psychosis. International Review of Psychiatry, 14, 273–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neely A. L. Myers
    • 1
  • Kelly Smith
    • 2
  • Alicia Pope
    • 2
  • Yazeed Alolayan
    • 3
  • Beth Broussard
    • 4
  • Nora Haynes
    • 5
  • Michael T. Compton
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and SciencesSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  2. 2.Pineland Behavioral Health/Developmental DisabilitiesStatesboroUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe George Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryLenox Hill HospitalNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Savannah Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental IllnessSavannahUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychiatryHofstra North Shore – LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA

Personalised recommendations