Recovery: A Remote Possibility

Anton Isaacs, Keith Sutton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This presentation highlights the need to adopt a fresh approach to developing rural models of recovery focused mental health care and outlines a framework to guide the process.
To date, mental health recovery research has focused upon defining, describing, and developing urban centric models of recovery practice. Recovery is context specific and is influenced by personal circumstance, local cultural mores, social and economic context, and availability of treatment and support services. However, despite almost forty years of recovery focused practice, there is little evidence that rural models of recovery practice have been developed.
We contend that the need for locally tailored models of recovery practice is long overdue and should be a priority for all involved in supporting those living with mental illness in rural settings and should avoid a deficit focus. We contend that this may best be achieved through the adoption of a social inclusion approach to developing locally tailored rural models of recovery practice, designed to address social enablers and barriers to recovery found in the rural communities involved.
Recovery practice should include interventions that address access to community services and supports and strategies to lessen the impact of stigma and discrimination on rural people experiencing mental health problems. The development of locally tailored models of recovery should be through a participatory approach (co-designed) that involves stakeholders, including those from the broader community. The approach should involve designing, implementing, and evaluating rurally appropriate models of recovery practice.
A new approach is required because re-engineering the current rural mental health service system to operate in a recovery-focused manner will not adequately address the uniquely rural social challenges to personal recovery.
Key learnings
1. Recovery oriented models of care for persons with severe mental illness need to be customised for the rural context
2. Such models need to be underpinned by social inclusion interventions that specifically address the discriminatory impact of stigma and the negative impact of dual/overlapping relationships, as well as improve understanding of mental illness, access to education and gainful employment as well as access to clinical support across rural communities.
3. Services to facilitate community based support and interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination need to be developed by co-design.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventAustralian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium 2021 - Virtual Symposium, Australia
Duration: 3 Nov 20218 Nov 2021


ConferenceAustralian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium 2021
Other2021 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium
Internet address


  • Personal recovery
  • Rural and remote Australia
  • mental health services

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