Background ‘Recovery’ is a contested concept within mental health. This is to the detriment of patients’ progression. The aim of this paper is to consider the meaning of recovery for African and Caribbean men with mental health experience in England.
Methods A qualitative design using a phenomenological approach captured the dynamics of recovery processes and outcomes for African and Caribbean men across the two study sites (Leeds and London). Fifty-nine in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with African and Caribbean men with mental health experience (n=30), supporters/family carers (n=15), and service providers (n=14). Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). At two co-creation events, service users co-analysed the data.
Results Findings suggest that recovery for African and Caribbean men is a complex, dynamic concept. A number of interconnected and often overlapping aspects collectively represent and contribute to recovery. These include recovery as a healing journey, leading a ‘normal’ life, autonomy and control, aspirations for the future, identity, and being free from health services.
Conclusion Whilst previous research similarly highlights issues of autonomy, social inclusion, personalisation, and identity as fundamental to recovery for all service users, this paper argues that recovery for African and Caribbean men is flavoured by their lived-experience at the intersections of ethnicity and gender. Service providers should acknowledge the men’s personal and collective understanding of recovery based on their unique life histories.
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