“Surviving out of the Ashes”- An Exploration of Young Adult Service Users’ Perspectives of Mental Health Recovery: Young Adult Service Users’ Perspectives of Mental Health Recovery

Claire-Odile McCauley, Hugh P. McKenna, Sinead Keeney, Derek McLaughlin

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Abstract

What is known on the subject?: The conceptual components of mental health recovery have been proposed, however, the barriers to their sustainability within the context of internal and external stressors require further exploration. Within their emerging adult role, young people will experience the personal challenges that will directly impact their understanding of their recovery, which will be different from other age groups. What the paper adds to existing knowledge?: Findings revealed recovery is understood as an uncharted, timely and personal process of engaging and transcending pain. Perceived barriers to mental health recovery and the internal dynamics experienced within the process have been explored. Recovery in young adulthood involved the reclaiming of their active and purposeful life force. It acquires real-life relevance when applied to the social and cultural factors that provide meaning in life for young adults. What are the Implications for practice?: This research will impact how mental health nurses understand the catalytic effects of personal, social and cultural meaning of suffering in young adults’ actualization of mental health recovery. Findings have significance for practice as the process of mental health recovery must not be presented as a clinical pathway, but understood as a personalized strategy of individual wellness in young adulthood. 


Abstract: Introduction: Within their emerging adult role, young people will embark on employment, form intimate relationships and live independently. This indicates that how recovery is experienced and actualized in young adulthood may be different from other age groups. Aim/Question: To explore young adult service user's perspectives of mental health recovery in Northern Ireland. Method: Semi-structured individual qualitative interviews were analysed using a Gadamerian-based hermeneutic method and interpreted using a novel theoretical framework. The sample comprised 25 participants with an average age of 28 years. Findings: Five key themes evolved: Services: A Losing Battle Straight Away; From your Foundations to a Step in the Dark; Let Go of the Pain not the Experience; Surviving Out of the Ashes Recovery; and Needs to be More than a Word. Discussion: The main findings were that recovery involved the reclaiming of their active and purposeful life force. It is suggested that young adults have developed an explanatory model of “use that stuff you wanna bury” to transform an illness narrative to a wellness strategy. Implications for Practice: This research has implications for mental health nursing so the process of mental health recovery is not presented as a clinical pathway, but a personalized strategy of individual wellness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Early online date28 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • explanatory models
  • hermeneutics
  • mental health recovery
  • nursing
  • qualitative research
  • service user perspectives
  • suffering
  • young adults

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