Rethinking the relapse cycle of depression and recovery: A qualitative investigation of women's experiences
In 2003 the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 became the first national mental health policy in Australia to adopt a specific recovery focus. Service delivery in both federal and state policies is now driven by a 'recovery' orientation that also raises questions about how mental health and illness are conceptualised and responded to in practice. We argue that there is a need for more critical engagement with the meaning of 'recovery' as it is often used in a self evident way to signify a better way forward for mental health policy. This article is informed by and informs research that is currently being conducted into women's recovery from depression. Our preliminary analysis offers a critical perspective on the discourses and assumptions that inform the 'relapse cycle' in women's depression that makes recovery so problematic. We consider how the 'imperative to recover' may in fact be implicated in perpetuating the cycle of recovery and relapse that characterises the chronicity of many women's experiences of depression. Hence, our focus identifies the gendered experience of recovery and the implications that arise for policy and practice when the social context of depression and recovery is largely ignored.
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Sociology not elsewhere classified