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Press Release

Press release

Mental Health Recovery in Ireland: patient perspective

9 February 2010

A new Health Research Board study, which examines mental health recovery from the point of view of people recovering in the Irish context, will be launched today by Mr John Moloney, Minister for Equality, Disability and Mental Health.

According to Minister Moloney,

'This report is positive for a variety of reasons. It shows that mental health recovery is possible, which is a message of hope. It also helps us understand from the service users perspective what works for them and how services can support them best through the recovery process. It is an excellent example of how research can inform practice in a meaningful way and I hope that the findings will encourage creative innovation in mental health practice that leads to improvements in care as well as boost the morale and job satisfaction of service providers'.

The research seeks to address the fact that there is no established theory of recovery to guide clinical practice in Ireland that is relevant for both service users and providers.  It is hoped that the findings, which reveal personal experience of the processes, tasks and strategies of reconnecting with life, as well as the facilitators and barriers to doing so, will help provide strong direction for clinical practice and individual recovery. 

The personal experiences reported in the study show some elements of person-centred, recovery-oriented care already exist in Irish health care. Other experiences indicate that there is still a need for a major shift in practice.

'Understanding what helps people recover and establishing what hinders recovery is essential', explains Dr Yulia Kartalova O' Doherty, lead author of the report at the HRB. 'Our findings reveal that people's main concern is reconnecting with life and they do that through self-acceptance, meaningful interaction with others, coming to terms with the past and planning and executing their future'.

The study identifies underlying processes and individual strategies people use to reconnect with life. These included developing understanding and empathy, futurising and moving on, and learning how to turn bad days into good days.

'The identified processes, tasks, strategies, facilitators and barriers of reconnecting with life could be easily incorporated into recovery-oriented practice, and used as checklists for designing and monitoring the individual's recovery progress', says Dr Kartalova O' Doherty.

'We have defined new ways of describing recovery in terms that can be understood both by people in recovery and the specialists who provide care. A common understanding that reconnecting with life is people's main concern, and that a patient-centred approach is helpful, means we are now in a much better place to reassess practice to reflect the needs of service users', she concludes.

You can download the full report, Reconnecting with life: personal experiences of recovering from mental health problems in Ireland, at the link below.

For more information contact:
Gillian Markey, Communications Manager
Health Research Board
m 00353 87 2288514
t 00353 1 2345103
e gmarkey(at)

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