At a glance

Recovery is the “achievement of an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by each individual, whilst living with or recovering from a mental health issue.” (NDIS)

The principles of a recovery oriented approach include understanding that each person is different and should be supported to make their own choices, listened to and treated with dignity and respect. Each person is the expert of their own life and support should assist them to achieve their hopes, goals and aspirations. Recovery will mean different things to different people.

A recovery approach should drive everything you do as a support worker and be reflected in your attitude, words and actions. This means being respectful and non-judgemental, and using words that are easily understood (no jargon).

In a recovery oriented approach it is important that you:

  • support each person to have control over their life regardless of their emotional experiences
  • see each person as an individual and not just focus on their mental health condition
  • acknowledge individual differences, such as age, gender, culture, beliefs and support networks
  • try to understand each individual’s situation and experience, as each person is different
  • understand that mental health conditions vary significantly from person to person, including how often someone has a period of unwellness and for how long
  • remember that each person’s journey is unlikely to be a straight path but more likely to be a mix of achievements and setbacks
  • be optimistic and support the person to have a meaningful life, based on their choices, goals, strengths and abilities
  • help build independence.


Personal recovery
This web page has information and videos of people sharing their lived experience and their views of recovery.
Type: Web page and Videos
Transcript Available
Produced by: Healthtalk Australia

Food for thought: A youth perspective on recovery-oriented practice
This short video provides a youth perspective on the core principles of recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services.
Type: Video
Viewing time: 4:08 minutes
Closed captions: Yes
Produced by: Mental Health Commission of Canada

This is an overview of some ideas to support someone on their journey of recovery.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: Wodonga Mental Health Services

Let's talk about recovery

This is an overview of recovery, with a short video and links to stories and experiences.
Type: Web page & Video
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes & 1:37 minutes video
Produced by: Scottish Recovery Network

Recovery and mental health

This is a brief overview of recovery and mental health, written for a person facing mental health challenges.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Produced by: Health Direct

Recovery Oriented Language Guide
This document provides guidelines for language and communication, and helpful do's and don'ts to promote acceptance, hope, respect and uniqueness.
Type: Guidance document
Length: 32 pages
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

Practitioners' guide to recovery principles that support recovery-oriented mental health practice
This web page lists some fundamental themes of a recovery focus for clinicians and mental health service providers.
Type: Web page (or PDF download)
Length: 1 page pdf
Produced by: Australian Department of Health

Recovery: the concept
This web page provides in-depth information about the recovery concept, with links to ‘A National Framework for Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services: Guide for Practitioners and Providers’.
Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Produced by: Australian Department of Health

Current as at: Wednesday 24 August 2022
Contact page owner: Mental Health