Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Recovery from Mental Illness: A Service User Perspective on Facilitators and Barriers

  • Kirsten Schultz Petersen
  • Vivi Soegaard Friis
  • Birthe Lodahl Haxholm
  • Claus Vinther Nielsen
  • Gitte Wind
Original paper


Mental health services strive to implement a recovery-oriented approach to rehabilitation. Little is known about service users’ perception of the recovery approach. The aim is to explore the service user’s perspectives on facilitators and barriers associated with recovery. Twelve residents living in supported housing services are interviewed. The analysis is guided by a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach and the interpretation involves theories from critical theory, sociology, and learning. Learning, social relations, and willpower are identified as having an impact on recovery. Stigmatization and social barriers occurred. Social relations to peer residents and staff were reported as potentially having a positive and negative impact on recovery. Studies have explored the user’s perspectives on recovery but this study contributes with knowledge on how recovery-oriented services have an impact on recovery.


Recovery Mental illness Facilitators Barriers Stigmatization 



We want to thank the supporting housing services and the service users for participating in the study for sharing their lived experiences and for giving their rich descriptions of recovery. Financial support to carry out the study was received from VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark and Section of Clinical Social Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Denmark, and Public Health and Quality Improvement, Central Denmark Region. Three of the authors [Petersen, Haxholm and Wind] were all employed at VIA University College while the study was carried on.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten Schultz Petersen
    • 1
  • Vivi Soegaard Friis
    • 2
  • Birthe Lodahl Haxholm
    • 3
  • Claus Vinther Nielsen
    • 1
  • Gitte Wind
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Section of Clinical Social Medicine and RehabilitationAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  2. 2.School of Nursing in SilkeborgVIA University CollegeSilkeborgDenmark
  3. 3.Regional Hospital West JutlandHerningDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Culture and Society - Section for Anthropology and EthnographyAarhus UniversityHoejbjergDenmark

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