Creative practice as mutual recovery in mental health

Crawford, Paul and Lewis, Lydia and Brown, Brian and Manning, Nick (2013) Creative practice as mutual recovery in mental health. Mental Health Review Journal, 18 (2). pp. 55-64. ISSN 1361-9322

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the value of approaches to mental health based on

creative practice in the humanities and arts, and explore these in relation to the potential contribution to

mutual recovery.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a conceptual analysis and literature review.

Findings – Recovery can embrace carers and practitioners as well as sufferers from mental health

problems. Divisions tend to exist between those with mental health needs, informal carers and health, social

care and education personnel. Mutual recovery is therefore a very useful term because it instigates a more

fully social understanding of mental health recovery processes, encompassing diverse actors in the field of

mental health. Research demonstrates the importance of arts for “recovery orientated mental health

services”, how they provide ways of breaking down social barriers, of expressing and understanding

experiences and emotions, and of helping to rebuild identities and communities. Similarly, the humanities

can advance the recovery of health and well-being.

Originality/value – The notion of mutual recovery through creative practice is more than just a set of

creative activities which are believed to have benefit. The idea is also a heuristic that can be useful to

professionals and family members, as well as individuals with mental health problems themselves. Mutual

recovery is perhaps best seen as a relational construct, offering new opportunities to build egalitarian,

appreciative and substantively connected communities – resilient communities of mutual hope, compassion

and solidarity.

Keywords Mental health, Recovery, Mutuality, Health humanities, Arts, Humanities, Mental health services

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Crawford, Professor Paul
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2014 13:28
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:13

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