My recovery

Self-manage 

srn_recovery_poster_orangeWhat is self-management?
Self-management is the name given to a set of approaches that aim to enable people to take control and manage their own health and wellbeing.

Self-management is about putting people in the “driving seat” and supporting them to lead their own recovery.

 

The Scottish Government Self-Management Strategy for Scotland is clear that self-management is not a replacement for services. It is about working with people to provide the right support at the right time to enable people to choose how they want to live.

There are a wide range of self-management approaches, resources and tools. This is important as it helps people tailor their approaches to their needs, circumstances and wishes at different times in their life and recovery.

Recovery and self-management
Self-management has always been a key part of the recovery approach in Scotland. SRN’s 2005 Narrative Research project clearly identified the importance of a person taking responsibility for their own wellbeing. It is a vital part of building/re-building identity and gaining hope, confidence and thereby self-esteem and self-efficacy on the recovery journey.

Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP)
SRN have historically supported the development of WRAP in Scotland. WRAP is a self-management tool used in many countries around the world to help individuals take more control over their own wellbeing and recovery. It emphasises that people are the experts in their own experience and is based on the premise that there are no limits to recovery.

Read our resources on self-management, and relevant research on WRAP. You might also be interested in the Self Management Network Scotland.

Connect with peers

expjigsaw_featureimagePeer support
Relationships are integral to the human experience and connecting with others is vital to our health and wellbeing. People who experience mental health problems describe the importance and value of sharing experiences with others who have had similar experiences.

This is described as peer support: a relationship of mutual support where people with similar life experiences offer each other connection and understanding as they move through difficult or challenging experiences. In mental health this may be in relation to:

  • Experiencing mental health problems
  • The struggle and emotional pain that can accompany the associated feelings of loss, hopelessness and disempowerment
  • Experience of navigating services and support

Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on the key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and a mutual agreement of what is helpful.” Mead et al (2001)

 

Why peer support is important to recovery
Experts by Experience publication cover
SRN describe recovery as “being able to live a good life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms.” This is a holistic view that focuses on individual wellness, going beyond the more limited reduction of symptoms.

Peer support is important to recovery because it’s a relationship that provides opportunities to share experiences and learn from each other on a mutual and equal basis. Peer support focuses on health and recovery rather than illness and disability and in so doing can provide evidence and hope that people can live a full and meaningful life.

Peer support can be experienced in many different ways. From the informal sharing of knowledge and experience through to the formalised peer support worker role within services.

Read SRN’s document: The many faces of peer support 

Peer support can be experienced in many different ways. From the informal sharing of knowledge and experience through to the formalised peer support worker role within services.

SRN provides a wide range of free resources to support peer working including our Experts by Experience Guidelines and Peer Values Framework.

Get creative

There are many ways in which people express their emotions and experiences. For example, if you’ve ever put pen to paper to work through difficult feelings, you might already know how powerful words can be. In fact, creating and taking control of your own story – in whatever form – can help people affected by mental health problems to experience recovery.

You can share your story, read about other peoples’ experiences, watch recovery videos and listen to podcasts at Stories and experiences.

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Other ways people express themselves include visual arts, music, dance and theatre. The annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival is a national showcase aimed at supporting the arts and challenging preconceived ideas about mental health.

Learn

Knowledge is power. Having a good understanding of your mental health and what support is available can put you in the driving seat of your recovery. This might be about getting basic information about resources and services or accessing more opportunities like courses or training, which are increasingly being made available at places like recovery colleges.

Influence

sri2sucleaflet_logoIf you’re using mental health services, you should expect them to work in a rights-based and recovery focused way. This should include:

  • Getting the right kind of help at the right time
  • Fitting in with your individual needs and circumstances
  • Supporting your plans and goals
  • Recognising that you have skills, strengths and abilities as well as needs
  • Encouraging and supporting self-help and self-management
  • Helping you connect with your community
  • Encouraging and acting on service user and carer involvement
  • Listening and responding to you with empathy

Independent advocacy services are designed to help people share their views and participate in decision-making when they may feel unable to. Care Opinion is another way you can share your views and provide feedback to services you have used.

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities has information about what your rights are when using NHS services. The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS), run by the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Service, can support patients, carers and families in dealings with the NHS. To find out more about accessing mental health services visit NHS Inform.

Engage

Many things can help recovery. Getting involved with a group or organisation that helps people to have a voice can be very empowering. Voices Of eXperience (VOX), the national mental health service user led organisation, have opportunities to get involved and can point you in the direction of local groups.

You might also be interested in taking part in the See Me ‘Movement for Change’, which aims to end mental health discrimination. There is also a growing online community of people sharing views and experiences and offering digital peer support. You can follow SRN on Twitter.