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Exploring the meaning of recovery for carers: implications for social work practice

This paper describes the impact that learning about recovery has on mental health carers, exploring the implications of this research for UK social work and beyond. A steering group co-produced a training intervention on recovery that was delivered by the first author and a carer, both with experiences of recovery, to eleven carers. Mainly qualitative data, with supplementary socio-demographic data, were collected to evaluate the impact of this training. Thematic analysis was applied to the data. Findings suggest that being more ‘recovery-aware’ gives carers increased hope and optimism for the future. Awareness of the impact of caring upon the service user's life helps carers to promote recovery in their relative, and gain confidence in their own expertise-by-caring. Professional care is fundamental to recovery but needs to build on a partnership model. The carers evaluated the training as helpful, and valued its authenticity in being led by trainers with experience of recovery. Carers' expectations of professional practice are highlighted, with different approaches discussed that support effective carer involvement in their relative's care. Recognition of carers' expertise-by-caring demands a new approach to mental health care, with significant implications for British social work practice.

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British Journal of Social Work

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Social care online
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