A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: guide for practitioners and providers

Capability 2A: Holistic and person-centred treatment, care, rehabilitation and psychosocial and other recovery support

Page last updated: 2013

Recovery-oriented mental health practice and service delivery acknowledges the range of influences that affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing and provides a range of treatment, rehabilitation, psycho-social and recovery support.

Core principles

  • In acknowledging and accepting the centrality of people with lived experience in their own recovery, mental health services seek to create environments enabling people to direct their own lives and meet the needs they have identified.
  • Mental health care acknowledges and is tailored to people’s preferences, life circumstances and aspirations, and to their family and personal supports.
  • Mental health services recognise and account for the multiple elements that affect individuals’ wellbeing including personal beliefs, cultural background, values, social and family contexts, physical health, housing, education and employment.


Values and attitudes

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • believe in the ability and right of a person to make their own life decisions
  • respectfully explore a person’s circumstances, what is important to them, and their aspirations for recovery and wellbeing
  • view people in the context of their whole selves and lives and view their personal recovery as the primary process of working towards wellness
  • respect and uphold people’s complex needs and aspirations across cultural, spiritual, relationship, emotional, physical, social and economic realms—not just in relation to their illness or mental health issues
  • demonstrate kindness, honesty and empathy in their interactions with people Top of page


Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • understand the individual nature of personal recovery
  • incorporate bio-psychosocial theoretical perspectives of health, mental health and wellbeing
  • understand the interplay between physical health, mental health, disability and coexisting conditions and the importance of collaboration to address needs simultaneously
  • understand a range of personal recovery approaches including those developed by people with lived experience of mental health issues
  • know major types of treatments and therapies and their possible contributions to a person’s recovery including biological and pharmacological treatments, psychological and psychotherapeutic approaches, psychosocial rehabilitation and support, physical health care, physical activity and exercise interventions, alcohol and drug treatment and counselling, traditional healing in different cultures and alternative and complementary treatments
  • understand the high prevalence of trauma experienced by people with a lived experience, how to assist a person affected by trauma and how to prevent the retriggering of trauma

Skills and behaviours

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • facilitate access to information, treatment, support and resources that contribute to a person’s recovery goals and aspirations
  • acknowledge a person’s family, carers and personal supports
  • promote people’s self-advocacy to meet their identified needs and recovery goals
  • articulate the pros and cons of different treatment to promote decision making and to support people to make the best use of treatments and therapies, minimise side effects, achieve an optimal, therapeutic level of medication and to withdraw from medication where appropriate
  • coordinate and collaborate with a range of relevant services beyond the mental health system including health services, alcohol and drug services, disability services, employment, education, training services and housing services Top of page

Recovery-oriented practice

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • shape service responses to match people’s aspirations, expectations, goals and needs
  • investigate the potential for alternative responses to those offered by the service
  • demonstrate trauma-informed practice
  • create opportunities for improvement in physical health, exercise, recreation, nutrition, expressions of spirituality, creative outlets and stress management
  • learn from and are informed by a person’s understanding of what helps
  • maintain connections with referring agencies and explore new service partnerships

Recovery-oriented leadership

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • encourage flexibility in supporting people’s recovery goals
  • ensure holistic assessment processes that include reference to a person’s home environment, personal goals, priorities and relationships
  • have clinical governance and professional development processes in place to ensure that the person is central to all that is done
  • review procedures and service environments to ensure that they are accessible (disability and age-appropriate, access and signage)
  • ensure that best-practice processes for coordination and collaboration are in place (referral pathways, service conferencing, shared care and joint discharge planning). Top of page


Ensure that staff, consumers and families have access to information and narratives about recovery in different formats and mediums.

Resource materials

  • Glover, Unpacking practices that support personal efforts of recovery: a resource book written for the workers and practitioners within the mental health sector
  • Scottish Recovery Network, Module 4: providing person-centred support, Realising recovery,
  • Kezelman & Stavropoulos 2012, Practice guidelines for treatment of complex trauma and trauma informed care and service delivery, Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Sydney
  • Queensland Health 2010, Dual diagnosis clinical guidelines and clinicians’ toolkit,