A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: policy and theory

4 Relationship to Australia's mental health service standards

Page last updated: 2013

Australia’s National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010 underpin the national recovery framework. Of particular importance are the ‘Principles of recovery oriented mental health practice’ and the ‘Supporting recovery’ standard (Standard 10.1). They are reproduced here in full.

Organisations that provide mental health or allied services can use the principles and the ‘Supporting recovery’ standard to assess the recovery orientation of their services. A number of other measures that assess an organisation’s recovery orientation are identified in A national framework for recovery oriented mental health services: Guide for practitioners and providers.

Principles of recovery oriented mental health practice

1. Uniqueness of the individual

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • recognises that recovery is not necessarily about cure but is about having opportunities for choices and living a meaningful, satisfying and purposeful life, and being a valued member of the community
  • accepts that recovery outcomes are personal and unique for each individual and go beyond an exclusive health focus to include an emphasis on social inclusion and quality of life
  • empowers individuals so they recognise that they are at the centre of the care they receive.

2. Real choices

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • supports and empowers individuals to make their own choices about how they want to lead their lives and acknowledges choices need to be meaningful and creatively explored
  • supports individuals to build on their strengths and take as much responsibility for their lives as they can at any given time
  • ensures that there is a balance between duty of care and support for individuals to take positive risks and make the most of new opportunities. Top of page

3. Attitudes and rights

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • involves listening to, learning from and acting upon communications from the individual and their carers about what is important to each individual
  • promotes and protects individuals’ legal, citizenship and human rights
  • supports individuals to maintain and develop social, recreational, occupational and vocational activities which are meaningful to the individual
  • instils hope in an individual’s future and ability to live a meaningful life.

4. Dignity and respect

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • consists of being courteous, respectful and honest in all interactions
  • involves sensitivity and respect for each individual, particularly for their values, beliefs and culture
  • challenges discrimination and stigma wherever it exists within our own services or the broader community. Top of page

5. Partnership and communication

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • acknowledges each individual is an expert on their own life and that recovery involves working in partnership with individuals and their carers to provide support in a way that makes sense to them
  • values the importance of sharing relevant information and the need to communicate clearly to enable effective engagement
  • involves working in positive and realistic ways with individuals and their carers to help them realise their own hopes, goals and aspirations.

6. Evaluating recovery

Recovery oriented mental health practice:
  • ensures and enables continual evaluation of recovery-based practice at several levels
  • individuals and their carers can track their own progress
  • uses the individual’s experiences of care to inform quality improvement activities
  • the mental health system reports on key outcomes that indicate recovery including (but not limited to) housing, employment, education and social and family relationships as well as health and wellbeing measures. Top of page

The 'Supporting recovery' standard (Standard 10.1)

The MHS incorporates recovery principles into service delivery, culture and practice providing consumers with access and referral to a range of programs that will support sustainable recovery.


  • 10.1.1 - The MHS actively supports and promotes recovery oriented values and principles in its policies and practices
  • 10.1.2 - The MHS treats consumers and carers with respect and dignity
  • 10.1.3 - The MHS recognises the lived experience of consumers and carers and supports their personal resourcefulness, individuality, strengths and abilities
  • 10.1.4 - The MHS encourages and supports the self-determination and autonomy of consumers and carers
  • 10.1.5 - The MHS promotes the social inclusion of consumers and advocates for their rights of citizenship and freedom from discrimination
  • 10.1.6 - The MHS provides education that supports consumer and carer participation in goal setting, treatment, care and recovery planning, including the development of advance directives
  • 10.1.7 - The MHS supports and promotes opportunities to enhance consumers’ positive social connections with family, children, friends and their valued community
  • 10.1.8 - The MHS demonstrates systems and processes for consumer and carer participation in the development, delivery and evaluation of the services
  • 10.1.9 - The MHS has a comprehensive knowledge of community services and resources and collaborates with consumers and carers to assist them to identify and access relevant services
  • 10.1.10 - The MHS provides access for consumers and their carer(s) to a range of carer-inclusive approaches to service delivery and support.