Recovery-oriented practice is understood in this framework as encapsulating mental health care that:

  • embraces the possibility of recovery and wellbeing created by the inherent strength and capacity of all people who experience mental health issues
  • maximises self-determination and self-management of mental health and wellbeing and involves person-first, person-centred, strengths-based and evidence-informed treatment, rehabilitation and support
  • acknowledges the diversity of peoples’ values and is responsive to people’s gender, age and developmental stage, culture and families as well as people’s unique strengths, circumstances, needs, preferences and beliefs
  • addresses a range of factors, including social determinants, that impact on the wellbeing and social inclusion of people experiencing mental health issues and their families, including housing, education, employment, income geography, relationships, social connectedness, personal safety, trauma, stigma, discrimination and socioeconomic hardship
  • helps families or support people to understand their family member’s experiences and recovery processes and how they can assist in their recovery while also helping them with their own needs for counselling, therapy, education, training, guidance, support services, peer support and advocacy (Victorian Department of Health 2011a; Slade 2009a; New Zealand Mental Health Commission 2011; Queensland Health 2005)
  • understands that people who have lived experience of unresolved trauma struggle to feel safe, considers the possibility of unresolved trauma in all service settings, and incorporates the core principles of trauma-informed care into service provision.

Capabilities for recovery-oriented mental health practice

Recovery-oriented mental health practice refers to the application of sets of capabilities that support people to recognise and take responsibility for their own recovery and wellbeing and to define their goals, wishes and aspirations.

Capabilities for recovery-oriented practice and service delivery encompass underlying core principles, values, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, skills and abilities. Individuals, teams and organisations need these capabilities in order to support people with mental health issues to live a meaningful and contributing life in their community of choice. Attaining and strengthening these capabilities is an ongoing process that takes time and commitment from leaders, professionals, staff and volunteers in mental health service provision.

Measuring individual recovery

The Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network Review of recovery measures (Burgess, Pirkis, Coombs & Rosen 2010) identified four recovery outcome measures:
  • Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS)
  • Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) Scales
  • Stages of Recovery Instrument (STORI)
  • Recovery Process Inventory (RPI).
The artwork by Pauline Miles titled 'The Advocate'  depicts a speaker standing at a lectern addressing an audience with images relating to art on the screen immediately behind the speaker.Recovery is different for everyone