Personal & Service Supports

Personal Supports and Service Supports

It’s important to recognise that personal recovery is not something that occurs only in the context of a person’s contact with mental health services.

For instance, people can find meaningful activities, communities they feel comfortable within, employment, social and romantic relationships, and numerous other supports within their personal lives that support their recovery without the assistance or support of mental health services.

This is not to say that mental health services should be cast aside during the recovery process as indeed services may offer valuable and necessary supports but simply that mental health services are there to support the process for those who choose to use them.

In this way, recovery can be seen as a process that involves supports within peoples’ personal lives (or “Personal Supports”) and supports received from mental health services (or “Service Supports”).

Indeed, in an effort to ensure services are prepared to facilitate personal recovery, this new understanding of recovery – sometimes referred to as the “recovery approach” within services – is beginning to have an impact on service delivery.

As a result of national debate and consultation across the world, the values enshrined in the recovery approach now underpin mental health policy in a number of countries, including Australia, England and Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States of America.

The Irish national policy for the delivery of mental health services – “A Vision for Change” published in 2006 – places this new understanding of recovery at the cornerstone of service provision:

A recovery approach should inform every level of service provision so service users learn to understand and cope with their mental health difficulties, build on their inherent strengths and resourcefulness, establish networks, and pursue dreams and goals that are important to them and to which they are entitled as citizens” (p.5).