Inspirational stories of mental illness recovery could help others suffering, says a new study.
The research from The University of Nottingham found uplifting stories of how people have overcome mental struggles may aid others on the road to recovery.
Yet it also revealed that first-hand accounts that include specific details of harmful behaviour may have a negative impact on some groups, including those battling an eating disorder.
Dr Stefan Rennick-Egglestone in the University’s School of Health Sciences and Institute of Mental Health led the review as party of the NEON study, from Professor Mike Slade.
“We wondered whether stories of recovery might help people who find it difficult to access other forms of mental health treatment, such as people living in rural locations or experiencing social anxiety, and we found that they can, as long as possible negative impacts are managed carefully,” said Stefan.
The UoN drew on existing evidence published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry which also shed light on how stories of recovery could be used as a resource in clinical practice and treatments.
More than 8,000 articles were searched for the UoN study, specifically judging if motivating stories made them feel more connected to a community or deepened their understanding of recovery and the stigma surrounding mental health.
There are many personal accounts of recovery online which have been used in high-profile mental health campaigns.
The Bell Let’s Talk campaign in the US has used personal video and text stories through its website to help promote social contact between people with mental health problems and to reduce stigma around the issue.
The Scottish Recovery Network, who aim to make mental health recovery a reality for people north of the border, host motivating videos and audio recordings to be used as recovery tools.
Examples include people in Dundee sharing their mental health experiences and a “What is Mental Health?” video from experts and service users.
The Benevolent, a charity for the drinks industry, shares stories from people in the alcohol industry who have dealt with mental health issues.
One of their case studies features Benjamin, who struggled to deal with the loss of his father but received vital support from The Benevolent’s welfare officers.