Practitioner guide to recovery principles that support recovery-oriented mental health practice: journey of hope and new beginnings

This guide provides some essential information and prompts for your day-to-day clinical work, whether you are working in a community or inpatient setting, with children, adults or older people.

Page last updated: 2013

Page last reviewed: 19 August 2014

PDF version: Practitioner guide to recovery principles that support recovery-oriented mental health practice (PDF 822 KB large file)

A recovery focus within all service types and programs, and embodied in practice and attitudes, is essential to promoting hope, wellbeing, and a sense of self determination for people with mental illness.

A recovery orientation to practice allows for and creates new meaning and purpose, and encourages consumers to pursue personal goals.

Health services must commit to incorporate recovery-oriented practice and service delivery to meet these expected standards of care.

The National framework for recovery-oriented mental health services defines personal recovery as being able to create and Iive a meaningful and contributing life in a community of choice with or without the presence of mental health issues.


These ‘reflective questions’ emphasise the fundamental importance of a recovery focus for clinicians and mental health service providers in the delivery of quality care.

1. Uniqueness of the individual

Do I support the consumer and carer to build on their unique strengths and encourage them to take responsibility as they are able?

Do I routinely assess and discuss with the consumer and carer the importance of physical health and overall wellbeing?

Do I consider the possible effects of trauma in the lived experience of the consumer and carer? Top of page

2. Real choices

Do I provide sufficient information to support the consumer and carer to make informed choices?

Do I, as much as possible, facilitate the consumer being able to discuss very difficult choices?

Do I try to understand these difficult choices from the consumer and carer’s perspective?

Do I welcome the carers and family members and provide as much information and support as possible to make them feel included and assist them to make informed choices?

3. Attitudes and rights

Do I respect and promote the consumer’s legal and human rights?

Do I, at all times, behave so as to convey an attitude of respect for the person and a desire for an equal partnership?

Do I encourage the consumer to maintain social, family and friend connections?

4. Dignity and respect

Do I welcome the consumer and carer/ support person to the service, and continue to do so?

Do I make the environment physically and emotionally safe for the consumer and carer/ support person?

Do I listen to, and support, the consumer and carer/ support person to define their recovery goals?

5. Partnership and communication

Do I proactively involve the consumer, carer/ support person in their individual care planning, treatment or reviews?

Do I proactively link other services and supports to facilitate the consumer’s recovery goals?

Do I proactively link other services and supports for carers and family members to assist them in their caring role? Top of page

6. Evaluating recovery

Do we, as individuals and as a team, utilise consumer and carer/ support person feedback fully to improve service delivery?

Do we, as a team, assess and evaluate recovery outcomes within our work?

Do we regularly assess, with the consumer and carer, recovery outcomes and use these measures to improve treatment, care and support goals?

Do we include carers and family members in regular assessments and measures on recovery outcomes for the consumer?

Do we provide training in recovery-oriented practice to clinical practice professionals?

Does the service act to implement recovery across multiple levels of service delivery?

Do we, as a service, support adequate tools, resources and training to embed recovery-oriented practice across the whole service system?

Do our day to day monitoring and evaluation systems reflect recovery capabilities?

Do we, as a service, evaluate recovery outcomes to drive quality improvement? Top of page

Related documents

This guide and the following related documents can be accessed online at the Department of Health website:

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