Service Users’ Descriptions of Recovery-Oriented Elements of a Rural Mental Health Service

Rochelle Hine, Eleanor Mitchell, Michael Naughton, Liz Craig, Denise Azar, Michaela O’Regan, Anton Isaacs, Shane Bullock, Keith Sutton, Darryl Maybery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Recovery-oriented practice is the dominant framework for mental health services in Australia. However, evidence demonstrating recovery processes outside public services is scant. This study explores how key processes from the Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning, and Empowerment (CHIME) personal recovery conceptual framework related to service-user experiences of a rural mental health service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualitative telephone or video-conference interviews were conducted with 19 service users. Deductive and inductive data analysis was employed, applying the CHIME framework as a predetermined organisational structure. Themes were constructed according to the CHIME framework categories. The data reflected all five categories; connectedness and empowerment were salient. Participants’ service-delivery experiences could either enhance or hinder connectedness, the cultivation of hope, a positive identity, meaning in life, and empowerment. Nonclinical aspects of their experience were viewed as an extension of treatment. Opportunities exist for mental health practitioners to intentionally prioritise and strengthen recovery-oriented practice. Trauma-informed approaches are consistent with and complement personal recovery principles. Accountability structures are needed to monitor recovery-oriented practice in mental health settings. Family-focused interventions also need strengthening to build connectedness, meaning, and hope. IMPLICATIONS Recovery can be promoted and enhanced within primary care mental health services through intentional focus on the key processes. Trauma-informed principles and care are congruent with a recovery-oriented approach and support connectedness and empowerment. Social workers are well placed to lead and drive recovery-oriented practices in private settings that move beyond an individualistic focus to include holistic care and family-focused practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-213
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Australia
  • Family-Focused Interventions
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Social Workers
  • Primary Health Care
  • Private Practice
  • Recovery-Oriented Practice
  • Regional Health Services

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