Book of Proceedings: Mental Health ‘Recovery’ in Australia Measured by Social Capital or Economic Benchmarks

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By April 15, 2020 No Comments

Authors: Peter Hall

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 9780994570260

Abstract: Papers from the 2019 TheMHS Conference by Peter Hall. Published as part of the 2019 Book of Proceedings.


Peter has worked in the Mental Health sector over the past 10 years, holding positions ranging from Support worker through to Service Manager. Peter embraces Recovery and draws on his lived experience to guide his practice working toward the empowerment of Consumers and to create healthy and supportive communities.

‘Recovery’ has its genesis within the Psychiatric Survivor’s Movement of the 1970’s, with ‘Recovery’ and associated dialogue voicing a challenge to the dominant institutionalised psychiatric medical model of care at the time. It is argued that the new Consumer movement, had links with civil rights and the concept of the individual as seen in the work of Chamberlin (1978) and Chomsky (1988).

In later years the Consumer movement influenced the ‘Recovery Oriented Practice’ model. This model contends that rather than the prescriptive nature of the psychiatric model, the Consumer has input into the decision-making process of their recovery. In the time since deinstitutionalisation in Australia, Recovery Orientated Practice has become the prevailing ethos in modern mental health care delivery.

Whilst this is the case, we argue the philosophical ethos of ‘Recovery’ has been politicised and compromised in Australia, where the relative success of an individual’s recovery is now evidenced by reductions specific economic benchmarks. This has been reinforced by the introduction of an insurance model that arguably regulates the system based on monetary outcome measures not measures of social capital. Furthermore, we argue ‘Recovery’ in its purest forms cannot be measured in specific outcomes because it cannot be generalised.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: This session will allow participants to hear a brief overview of Recovery originating in the human rights movement and how modern interpretations of the language of Recovery has moved away from this.
Learning Objective 2: Recovery and how it is determined has been a contentious issue for many years with the argument of language being debated. This paper argues that the current interpretation of Recovery now removed from its roots in social justice instead now sits within economic drivers.

Chamberlin, Judi (1978). On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System. New York: Haworth Press. ISBN 080155523X

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