on .

From my point of view it has been one of the most important actions we have carried out recently; it changed the culture and attitudes of service users and professionals too.

This course and project have motivated the implementation of the recovery approach in a more effective way. Recovery is more than a speech or just a theoretical approach; it must be accompanied by actions to change reality, and this reality is usually defined by professionals who establish the roles that patients, users and professionals may follow.
Consider service users as experts radically changes the role of professionals, who should take a step back in the decision-making process and at the same time, train and improve other competencies and skills such as accompaniment and support to empower service users towards their autonomy.
We have seen the change in the recovery process when we talk about mental illness not as a medical diagnosis, but as a biographical fact (trauma) that also incorporates responsibility, that is the difference between this and others more deterministic or biologist approaches.
“Hope” as part of the recovery process, has been very present during the course, as there was “positive risk”, which is taken with responsibility. It is difficult to put these ideas into words, but the course has provided us with space to clarify them.
The incorporation of peer support into an organization or facility must be accompanied by an intense cultural change throughout the whole organization, as it forces an intense self-assessment of our daily practices such as, how users are being referred to services (usually above-below), evaluation of their deficits, the definition of intervention models, etc... And any practice that leads to take decisions about the lives of people with mental illness or mental distress- term which makes us feel more comfortable, from the point of view of professionals as experts.

Teresa Orihuela,
Trainer and Technical Director. INTRAS Foundation, Valladolid (Spain)