A qualitative exploration of service users’ and staff members’ perspectives on the roles of inpatient settings in mental health recovery [2020]

Today, international mental health care increasingly focuses on creating recovery-oriented systems of support. This study aims to unravel the daily practice of an inpatient psychiatric ward that engages with persons with complex mental health needs.

17 in-depth interviews were conducted with patients and staff of the ward. Data was analyzed by means of thematic analysis.

Three important functions of the ward were identified in the participants’ experiences. First, it functions as an asylum, a safe environment where patients can ‘simply be’. Second, the ward is experienced as a particularizing space, as support is organized in an individualized way and patients are encouraged to reconnect with their own identity. Third, the ward functions as a transitional space towards a valuable community life, in which finding adequate housing is of central importance.

The results show that inpatient forms of support tally with personal and social dimensions of recovery and fulfill important roles in recovery-oriented systems of support.

Clara De Ruysscher, Stijn Vandevelde, Peter Tomlinson & Stijn Vanheule
International Journal of Mental Health Systems, volume 14, Article number: 15 (2020)