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Young people and recovery

In 2013/ 2014 MHCC conducted a study entitled Recovery Orientation in Youth Mental Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The study sought to investigate the experiences of young people, their families and carers and mental health service providers, to better understand what 'recovery' meant for them.


Since recovery was originally defined from the stories of adult mental health consumers, their families and carers, it is unclear if these concepts are immediately transferrable to the context of child, adolescent and youth experiences of mental health support.


The aim of the project was to explore and discuss the utility and relevance of the themes identified in the adult personal recovery literature to children, young people and their families. The main findings of the review are that the five recovery processes: Connectedness, Hope and Optimism about the future, Identity, Meaning, Purpose and Empowerment (CHIME) are relevant for young people, although how these are expressed will depend on their age and developmental stage.


Part 1 of the paper published in December 2014 presents a background to the concepts and issues based on a review of the literature, as well as a summary of concerns expressed in existing literature about the application of recovery principles to children and young people.

Part 2 outlines the findings from consultations conducted with three stakeholder groups: young people who have been diagnosed with mental illness; parents and caregivers; and mental health professionals who work with children and young people. Their perspectives on the value of recovery concepts and recovery-oriented practice for the needs of children and young people are discussed.


Part 3 outlines suggested practice guidelines to assist with the implementation of recovery-oriented practices for children and young people. It also makes recommendations for further work needed to assist with the implementation.

To Read the paper MHCC 2014, Recovery for Young People: Recovery Orientation in Youth Mental Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS): Discussion Paper, Sydney, NSW, follow this link


The second phase of the project was the Youth Recovery Language Project which scanned the literature on youth perspectives of recovery. Its principle focus was to determine the language used by young people in Australia to describe their lived experience of mental health difficulties. The project looked at how the workforce could enhance its understanding of young people, improve rapport and build relationships though more targeted communication.


The project's primary objective was to build on an existing resource - MHCC's Recovery Oriented Language Guide - to improve capacity of workers across mental health and human services and other related contexts (e.g. tribunals, legal service settings, primary health care). It aims to improve outcomes for young people living with mental health conditions in the community and in public mental health settings.


The Youth Recovery Language Project Literature Scan and Report provides an overview of the limited literature available on youth perspectives in Australia and internationally. The literature scan and an analysis of themes from the focus groups is translated into commentary and suggested language that reflects youth perspectives to be incorporated into MHCC's Recovery Oriented Language Guide.


The study found that the development of language guidelines to reflect the perspectives of young people concerning recovery, mental health and associated issues was imperative. What became apparent during the second stage of the project was that while youth mental health services are well informed about the needs of young clients, adult mental health services and other agencies working more generally with young people, needed information on communicating with young people and understanding what is important to them in the 'here and now'.


The revised Recovery Language Guide will be available June 2016


For more information about this project contact Corinne Henderson, Senior Policy Advisor at e: corinne@mhcc.org.au or P: 02 9555 8388 ext 101