Recovery-oriented practice and service delivery seek to maximise personal recovery by working in partnerships with local communities.

Core principles

  • The experience of mental health issues provides a person with significant additional knowledge, resilience, skills and resources that can enrich local communities.
  • Communities value the resources and contribution of local mental health services.
  • A wealth of diverse knowledge, skills, strengths and resources reside in local communities.
  • As people with experience of mental health issues, local communities and mental health services have much to gain from each other, mental health services have a responsibility to assist to create opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
  • Communities—whether a few neighbourhoods or particular groups—are seeking to recover from events that have adversely impacted on their social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Mental health services have a role in supporting a community’s recovery goals and efforts.


Values and attitudes

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • are known, respected and valued by their communities
  • welcome and initiate collaboration with local communities
  • have a vision for a mentally healthy community where people with experience of mental health issues flourish and have strong futures
  • value local diversity, knowledge, strengths and skills
  • understand and respect local expectations, traditions, customs and processes
  • supports to communities to be inclusive


Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • have an understanding of communities as social constructs and knowledge of evidence-based good practice in working with communities
  • understand and know their communities—community leaders, services and agencies, service clubs, schools, business chambers, local councils, sporting and recreation associations and so on
  • have up to date knowledge concerning sources of funding for community partnerships, capacity building, community development and volunteers Top of page

Skills and behaviours

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • demonstrate skills of facilitation, networking and partnership building
  • use language that is readily understood
  • are proficient in harnessing or unlocking community goodwill, resourcefulness and creativity
  • support local promotion and prevention, early intervention, resilience, mental health literacy and capacity building initiatives
  • support peer-led community partnerships and initiatives

Recovery-oriented practice

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • are active members of local interagency networks
  • partner with peer workers and local peer leaders when participating in community initiatives
  • collaborate with national and state-based community initiatives such as beyondblue, Rotary, MindMatters and Headspace
  • collaborate with national, state and locally based sporting, art, performing arts, recreational and volunteering organisations

Recovery-oriented leadership

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • acknowledge the importance of community partnerships to effective mental health care and to personal recovery
  • acknowledge community as the space for recovery, social inclusion and meaning for people
  • view recovery-enhancing community partnerships as core business and not a discretionary extra
  • acknowledge and reward staff for their role in community partnerships
  • acknowledge and make provision for the time and resources required
  • maintain organisational visibility and ensure organisational representation at important or locally valued events
  • when representing the organisation at community events and meetings, do so in partnership with local peer leaders
  • ensure sound working relationships with local media organisations. Top of page


  • Embrace National Mental Health Week and ‘piggy back’ on other national weeks and days, for example, National Heart Week.
  • Establish a field education program for postsecondary, undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking studies relating to community development, capacity building, health promotion and prevention, community education, sport, exercise and physical education and event management.

Resource materials