Research into Recovery and Wellbeing

A website about the work of the recovery research team at the Institute of Mental Health

The University of Nottingham

January 2020

Recovery Research Network eBULLETIN


January 2020


RRN Meetings

The 23rd meeting of the RRN will be taking place in London, and details will be announced shortly.


All RRN events are free and administrated through Eventbrite.  The fact that the RRN is able to attract speakers who are experts in their field means that places are filled quickly.  We do kindly ask that you notify the RRN if, for whatever reason, you are unable to attend on the day. This allows us to offer your place to someone else.


If you would like to present at a future meeting of the RRN please email either Shula Ramon or Tony Sparkes. Their contact details are:





RRN Membership Profile

Anyone who has an interest in recovery research can join the RRN, just fill in the online form available at:


Please note that if you join the Network, the details you supply will be circulated to other members of the Network as part of the monthly e-bulletin, but will not be put on our website and will not be shared with any other organisation. If you would like to leave the RRN and have your details removed from our database, please email



A Call to PhD Students and their Supervisors

Please could we remind the readership that PhD students (and their supervisors) are particularly welcome to join the RRN.  The forum provides a unique opportunity to network and build research capacity. The network also provides a collegial environment to present doctoral work.


Recovery Research: We would like to learn from your experience of conducting recovery research.  Therefore, would readers kindly get in touch with the Network to let us know about the things that have helped and the things that have hindered during your experience of undertaking recovery research. Please send your comments to either Tony or Shula.



Conferences and Events

i) Presented by Kate Lucre and Petr Ord, The Compassionate Mind Foundation are hosting a one-day event on the topic of: Compassion Focused Therapy for people with attachment trauma and personality disorder


The one-day event will explore the science, clinical applications and latest research findings of Compassion Focused Therapeutic work with people with a personality disorder diagnosis

Date/Time: 24th February 2020 at 9:30am until 4:30pm

Venue: The Ridgeway Centre, Featherstone Road

Location: Wolverton


For more information please click here



ii) A One-day International Conference on Shared Decision Making in Mental Health is due to take place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on Tuesday, May 12th 2020.


For more information and registration, please click here



iii)  Organised by Ajuda, The Mental Health and Wellbeing Show is to be held on Thursday 21st May 2020 at Cardiff City Stadium, Leckwith Road, Cardiff (08:00am – 16:00pm).  For more information please see:



iv) A number of international conferences are set out by the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS) during 2020:


ISPS Norway Conference

Norway Thursday, 06 February 2020 - Friday 07 February 2020 Hamar

"Back to the Future: Psychotherapy for Psychosis anno 2020"

Further information (in Norwegian)


ISPS Suomi Conference

Finland Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - Wednesday, 12 February 2020 Helsinki

"Psychosis 2020"

Keynote speakers include Jan Olav Johannessen and Amy Hardy

Further information (in Finnish)


ISPS Perugia 2021

Italy Wednesday, 01 September 2021 - Sunday, 05 September 2021 Perugia

The 22nd International Conference of the ISPS will take place in Perugia, Italy in 2021.



v)  International Resilience Revolution Conference Blackpool, 8-11 September 2020

A conference and a call-for-action, recognising the importance of resilience focused, co-produced research and action to achieve equality and social justice for all.

Organised by the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice at the University of Brighton with Boingboing and HeadStart Blackpool. Come and learn from local communities, practitioners and academics who are developing ideas we want to share and grow.


For more information click here



Papers and Publications

In addition to peer-reviewed literature and work of a purely academic nature, the ebulletin also welcomes the submission of material that would include grey literatures (such as briefing papers, reports and so on) that attest to the broader impact of personal recovery.



i)  Meadows, G. N., Prodan, A., Patten, S., Shawyer, F., Francis, S., Enticott, J., Rosenberg, S., Atkinson, J., Fossey, E. and Kakuma, R. (2019) Resolving the paradox of increased mental health expenditure and stable prevalence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 53(9) 844-850.



A doubling of Australian expenditure on mental health services over two decades, inflation-adjusted, has reduced prevalence of neither psychological distress nor mental disorders. Low rates of help-seeking, and inadequate and inequitable delivery of effective care may explain this partially, but not fully. Focusing on depressive disorders, drawing initially on ideas from the work of philosopher and socio-cultural critic Ivan Illich, we use evidence-based medicine statistics and simulation modelling approaches to develop testable hypotheses as to how iatrogenic influences on the course of depression may help explain this seeming paradox. Combined psychological treatment and antidepressant medication may be available, and beneficial, for depressed people in socioeconomically advantaged areas. But more Australians with depression live in disadvantaged areas where antidepressant medication provision without formal psychotherapy is more typical; there also are urban/non-urban disparities. Depressed people often engage in self-help strategies consistent with psychological treatments, probably often with some benefit to these people. We propose then, if people are encouraged to rely heavily on antidepressant medication only, and if they consequently reduce spontaneous self-help activity, that the benefits of the antidepressant medication may be more than offset by reductions in beneficial effects as a consequence of reduced self-help activity. While in advantaged areas, more comprehensive service delivery may result in observed prevalence lower than it would be without services, in less well-serviced areas, observed prevalence may be higher than it would otherwise be. Overall, then, we see no change. If the hypotheses receive support from the proposed research, then implications for service prioritisation and delivery could include a case for wider application of recovery-oriented practice. Critically, it would strengthen the case for action to correct inequities in the delivery of psychological treatments for depression in Australia so that combined psychological therapy and antidepressant medication, accessible and administered within an empowering framework, should be a nationally implemented standard.



ii)  Ibrahim, N., Thompson, D., Nixdorf, R., Kalha, J., Mpango, R., Moran, G., Mueller‑Stierlin, A., Ryan, G., Mahlke, C., Shamba, D., Puschner, B., Repper, J. and Slade, M. (2019) A systematic review of influences on implementation of peer support work for adults with mental health problems.  Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.  Online:



Purpose: The evidence base for peer support work in mental health is established, yet implementation remains a challenge. The aim of this systematic review was to identify influences which facilitate or are barriers to implementation of mental health peer support work.

Methods: Data sources comprised online databases (n = 11), journal table of contents (n = 2), conference proceedings (n = 18), peer support websites (n = 2), expert consultation (n = 38) and forward and backward citation tracking. Publications were included if they reported on implementation facilitators or barriers for formal face-to-face peer support work with adults with a mental health problem, and were available in English, French, German, Hebrew, Luganda, Spanish or Swahili. Data were analysed using narrative synthesis. A six-site international survey [Germany (2 sites), India, Israel, Tanzania, Uganda] using a measure based on the strongest influences was conducted. The review protocol was pre-registered (Prospero:CRD42018094838).

Results: The search strategy identified 5813 publications, of which 53 were included. Fourteen implementation influences were identified, notably organisational culture (reported by 53% of papers), training (42%) and role definition (40%). Ratings on a measure using these influences demonstrated preliminary evidence for the convergent and discriminant validity of the identified influences.

Conclusion: The identified influences provide a guide to implementation of peer support. For services developing a peer support service, organisational culture including role support (training, role clarity, resourcing and access to a peer network) and staff attitudes need to be considered. The identified influences provide a theory base to prepare research sites for implementing peer support worker interventions.



iii)  Coloni-Terrapon, C., Favrod, J., Clément-Perritaz, A., Gothuey, I. and Rexhaj, S. (2020) Optimism and the psychological recovery process among informal caregivers of inpatients suffering from depressive disorder: A descriptive exploratory study. Frontiers in Psychiatry.  10:972  Online:



Background: Informal caregivers of people suffering from depressive disorders go through a psychological recovery process. This process is dynamic, deep, catalyzed by hope and optimism and characterized by stages from which specific needs ensue. This study aimed to describe the stages of the psychological recovery process and the level of optimism among informal caregivers of psychiatric inpatients suffering from depressive disorders in order to provide adapted nursing support and psychoeducation and facilitate a patient's own recovery.

Methods: A descriptive exploratory study was conducted using a convenience sample of 29 informal caregivers. Participants filled out a sociodemographic questionnaire, a specially adapted Stages of Recovery Instrument (STORI) and the Life Orientation Test–Revised (LOT–R).

Results: A mean optimism score of 16.41 showed that informal caregivers are close to the level of the general European population. The sample included all the stages of the recovery process, with 34.5% of participants being in the growth stage. Informal caregivers' stages in the recovery process were negatively associated with the patient's length of illness (Rho = -.683, p = .000) and positively associated with the caregivers' level of optimism (Rho = .564, p = .001).

Conclusion: During the inpatient treatment of a close relative suffering from a depressive disorder, informal caregivers go through an individual psychological recovery process involving several stages. In addition to caring for inpatients, nurses are encouraged to meet and support caregivers as soon as possible in their individual recovery process. Furthermore, the development of a suitably adapted clinical tool would facilitate the assessment of the informal caregiver's stage in the recovery process within care units. A multidisciplinary approach is needed in this domain.



iv)  Winsper, C., Crawford Docherty, A., Weich, S., Fenton, S-J. and Singh S. P. (2020) How do recovery-oriented interventions contribute to personal mental health recovery? A systematic review and logic model.  Clinical Psychology Review. Online:



The emergent recovery paradigm prioritises adaption to serious mental illness and a move towards personally meaningful goals. In this review, we combine a theory driven logic model approach with systematic review techniques to forward understanding of how recovery-oriented interventions can help service users in their personal recovery journey. We identified 309 studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Our logic model mapped out intervention typologies and their recovery outcomes, the mechanisms of action underpinning these links, and the contextual moderators of these mechanisms and outcomes. Interventions were associated with recovery outcomes (functional, existential and social) directly and through a sequence of processes, which were underpinned by four common mechanisms: 1) providing information and skills; 2) promoting a working alliance; 3) role modelling recovery; and 4) increasing choice. Moderators of these mechanisms were observed at the service user (e.g., motivation), mental health service (e.g., professional attitudes) and wider environmental (e.g., unemployment rates) level. Recovery-oriented interventions share common critical mechanisms, which can help propel service users towards recovery especially when delivered within pro-recovery and non-stigmatising contexts. Future studies should further examine ways to reduce (or remove) barriers preventing individuals with mental health problems from experiencing the same citizenship entitlements as everyone else.



v)  Karpetis, G. (2020) How experienced social workers apply recovery- oriented mental health policies in everyday practice.  European Journal of Social Work.  23(1)  106-117



In the wider mental health literature, there is a shortage of empirical studies elaborating on how exactly the recovery principle is effectively operationalised in everyday practice. This study explores how statutory mental health social workers implement recovery policies in Australia. Adopting the interpretative phenomenology framework, the researcher  conducted in-depth interviews with six experienced statutory mental health social workers. The data were thematically analysed to identify the participants’ perspectives on how they experience the recovery practice phenomenon and, thus, how exactly they apply recovery policies in their everyday practice. The study contributes new knowledge to the literature by means of translating the main aspects of recovery policies into identifiable practice behaviours and demonstrates that the terminology the practitioners adopt considerably aligns with the critical and humanistic theoretical perspectives that similarly underpin the majority of the current recovery-oriented policy documents. The study concludes that there is a need for further research on how exactly personal and clinical recovery are effectively operationalised in statutory mental health practice, under different theoretical perspectives.



Other News

i)  Shula Ramon and Tony Sparkes co-produce the RRN monthly ebulletin. Please email if there is anything you would like included in the next issue, as we are keen to receive and advertise more news, articles and website references. Information can be posted to either Shula or Tony at the following: