Exploring Illness and Recovery Experiences

Qualitative research can provide a window into people’s lives and experiences. In the context of a mental illness, it can elucidate the complex, messy day-to-day reality of living with a condition, including how individuals, families and communities make sense of the experience, cope with it, seek help for it, and conceptualise treatment.

The focus on context, rich description, and individuals’ perspectives can help to understand experiences that can evade numbers, such as the lived experience of delusions or recovering from an eating disorder, as well as the meaning of the numbers themselves, for example, what might underlie epidemiological patterns of substance dependence, relapse and recovery among adult ex/offenders or how ethnic inequalities in access to mental health care are experienced by the individuals affected.

Examples of research projects that prioritise the perspectives of those with lived experiences of physical or mental health problems, services or treatment can be found below: