Service users’ experiences of recovery under the 2008 Care Programme Approach

Service users' experiences of recovery under the 2008 Care Programme ApproachThis report, published by the Mental Health Foundation and the National Service User Network, provides the findings of a study which explored how effective service users find the Care Programme Approach in promoting recovery as they understand it.


The study demonstrated that, whilst service users hold some positive views about the 2008 Care Programme Approach, they also think that significant improvements are needed if they are to recover.

Key findings include:

  • Recovery means different things to different service users and this needs taking fully into account. Services are patchy in this respect
  • Service users who may face particular disadvantages in society often receive less helpful approaches and services. Both African and African Caribbean participants and  female participants spoke with especial concern about this
  • It is not helpful if medical diagnoses are the only explanations of mental distress which are provided, but this is too often the case
  • Service users want warm, human qualities from mental health professionals to have at least as much focus as actual services and for there to be an increased move away from purely medical approaches to whole-person approaches
  • Whilst it is important to service users to feel safe, services can be too bound up with risk issues. Other important aspects of people’s lives are then overlooked
  • Most participants who had been treated compulsorily under the Mental Health Act 2007 found that it had a negative effect on their recovery and that there was a tension between such powers and government emphases on choice and empowerment
  • Participants wanted to be more involved in their care plans and, frequently, to influence strategic decisions about services as well
  • Shortfalls in staffing and funding need addressing if the 2008 Care Programme Approach is to work well for service users.