Personal recovery within positive psychiatry

Ulrika Bejerholm, David Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: One goal within positive psychiatry is to support the personal recovery of persons with mental illness and providing opportunities for well-being. Aim: The current article aims to introduce readers to the concept of personal recovery and the potential and importance of recovery-oriented services and measures. Methods: A literature review was conducted to help consider the domains of ‘personal recovery’, ‘recovery-oriented services/interventions’, and ‘measures’. A database search was complemented with a web-based search. Both medical subject heading (MESH) terms and free-text search terms were used. Results: Literature from research journals, grey literature, and websites were included. Within this context, recovery does not refer to a cure but involves a process in which a person acts as an agent to develop new goals and meaning in life, despite and beyond limitations posed by the illness and its consequences. A positive focus on recovery is in sharp contrast to historical deterministic and pessimistic concepts of mental illnesses. Recovery-oriented services such as peer support, assertive community treatment, supported employment/education/housing, illness self-management, and decreasing self-stigma are highlighted. A review of 27 measures that focus on personal recovery and promotion of well-being are also discussed. Conclusions: The literature overview presents perspectives and knowledge of how to develop positive psychiatry, how mental health services and their partner organizations may become more recovery oriented and help persons reach well-being and a better quality of life. This study is limited to a narrative review and may precede future systematic reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-430
Number of pages11
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Mental disorder
  • evidence-based practice
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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