Wyder, M. & Bland, R. (2014). The recovery framework as a way of understanding families' responses to mental illness: Balancing different needs and recovery journeys. Australian Social Work,67(2), 179-196. Australia: Routledge. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2013.875580
Personal recovery is a guiding principle in mental health and suggests that consumers own and are responsible for their own recovery. An exclusive focus on the recovery of those living with mental illness challenges the relevance of recovery concepts to families’ experiences. This paper extends these recovery principles to consider if the recovery framework is helpful in understanding families’ experiences. We distinguished the family's recovery task by recovery-oriented support and the family's own recovery journey. By applying recovery frameworks developed by Davidson et al. and Leamy et al. to these two tasks, we were able to highlight similarities and points of tension between consumer and family recovery tasks. The tasks for families include: (1) maintaining hope; (2) reconnecting; (3) overcoming secondary trauma; and (4) journeying from carer to family. Family response to mental illness is a dynamic, multilayered process rather than a static and enduring role of caregiving. The recovery framework offers an alternative way to understand a family's response to mental illness and suggests possibilities for social work practice with families.
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