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Recovery strategy aims to help people help themselves to better mental health

​A new strategy which explains how Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will support people with mental health issues to develop the skills to create and maintain a fulfilling and meaningful life has been launched.

‘Recovery – Together let’s make a difference’ was launched on Friday (22 September) during a special day-long event at IP-City Centre in Ipswich.

Open to anyone who uses NSFT’s services, their carers, stakeholders and partner agencies, the event gave people the chance to find out more about the strategy, listen to inspirational service user stories and feedback their ideas about its implementation.

It also featured a keynote talk from Katie Mottram entitled ‘Introduction to a more empowering approach to mental distress as a potentially transformative experience’.

Katie, who published her book Mend the Gap about her journey from crisis to transformation in 2014, is co-founding Director for the International Spiritual Emergence Network.

The Trust’s Recovery Strategy has been developed over a six-month period in partnership with service users and carers, and promotes a culture which focuses on health, strengths and wellness rather than illness and symptoms.

Marcus Hayward, NSFT’s Head of Recovery, Participation and Partnership, said: “Recovery is vitally important as it helps people to rise above their symptoms and enjoy a fulfilled life by focusing on their strengths and not on illness.

“We have already introduced a wide range of initiatives to promote the concept, such as our Recovery College, peer support workers and learning from our staff who have lived experience of recovery.

“This strategy will build on those strong foundations by further embedding a culture of recovery across our Trust while also encouraging close partnership working with other health, social care, voluntary groups and charities to improve resilience within individuals as well as the wider community.”

It sets out four priority goals, which are:

1. Place recovery at the core of every conversation and make sure that recovery principles are central to everything our Trust does. Actions will include:
- Collecting and sharing personal stories of recovery
- Developing new workshops and encouraging more staff, service users and carers to attend the Recovery College
- Sharing experiences of implementing recovery locally and nationally

2. Ensure co-production in decision-making at every level to promote equal partnership between service users and staff. Actions will include:
- Producing a booklet bringing together information about all the involvement opportunities available at NSFT, from FT Membership to employment in peer roles
- Establishing a network of people with personal experience of receiving care who would like to work with NSFT to improve services
- Involving service users or carers when recruiting staff

3. Share responsibility for keeping people safe by revising the Trust’s approach to risk assessment and management. Actions will include:
- Helping to embed the principle of “no decision about me without me”
- Moving from a risk assessment approach that focuses on deficits to a safety planning approach that emphasizes strengths and assets
- Continuing to promote carer involvement in all aspects of care
- Involving people with lived experience of restrictive practice in reviewing risk management methods and policies within inpatient areas, including use of restraint and seclusion

4. Develop partnerships to promote meaningful living so that people with mental health problems can get involved in things which are important to them and build a life beyond illness. Actions will include:
- Prioritising partnerships that provide benefits advice, helping find employment, tenancy advice and support while helping people be more involved in activities which interest them and maintain connections with others
- Building on the success of the Recovery College by strengthening partnership, working within local communities and increasing accessibility for staff, service users and supporters

Speaking after the launch event, Dr David Williams, clinical psychologist in the Trust’s Central Integrated Delivery Team based in Stowmarket, said: “There was a very positive response to Katie’s message, with people reflecting on how to respond to service users talking about inner experiences that could also be described as spiritual. We are part of a paradigm shift in looking at what has happened to people rather than what is wrong with people.”

Richard Gorrod, NSFT service-user governor, said: “The day was a big success, especially Katie Mottram whose talk was particularly thought provoking.”

For more information about the Recovery College, which provides a range of courses and workshops to help service users, carers and staff develop their skills and understand mental health, visit

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