Recovery in Scotland: The Rise and Uncertain Future of a Mental Health Social Movement

Jennifer Smith-Merry, Steven Sturdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

‘‘Recovery’’ has become a key element in Scottish mental health policy and practice, despite continuing uncertainty over just what is meant by the term. This article draws on social movement theory to explore the processes underlying the growth of recovery in Scotland. Based on documentary analysis and semistructured interviews with key actors, it looks at the emergence of a ‘‘recovery movement’’ in Scotland and in particular at how that movement articulated a ‘‘recovery frame’’ that subsequently came to inform policy and practice. It then reflects on the dilemmas posed by this success, as the recovery movement expanded to intersect with state agencies and the recovery frame was adapted to accommodate the needs of government policy. It concludes that the future of the recovery movement in Scotland will depend on its ability to maintain a sufficiently broad and inclusive framing of recovery even as it becomes associated with specific policies and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-132
Number of pages19
JournalSociety and mental health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • recovery, mental health services, mental health policy, social structure, mental health consumers


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