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Recovery: a carer’s perspective

An estimated 1.5 million people in the UK care for or support a relative or friend who experiences mental health problems. We all want to know what it means for the person we care for and for ourselves. We all know the importance of trying to understand what is happening to them, listening to their accounts of what it feels like, providing practical and emotional support in a manner that they find acceptable and walking alongside them – ‘being there’ and believing in them. Yet it can be difficult to know how best to do this.

The concept of Recovery offers a framework which is relevant and constructive for both the person who experiences distress and their family and friends. Since it is not prescriptive, it can also facilitate the development of mutually supportive relationships.

This briefing paper examines what Recovery means for the families and friends of people with mental health conditions. It suggests ways in which
these informal carers can support Recovery and looks at how mental health services can give the best possible help to do this. It also provides information about key resources, including the Triangle of Care and a Wellbeing Recovery Plan for families and friends.