The Recovery Model, which is influencing service development in the US and other parts of the developed world, refers both to subjective experiences of empowerment, optimism and mutual support experienced by people with mental illness and their formal and informal care providers, and to the development of services that engender optimism about outcome from serious mental illness and a support for human rights. The model calls for education about psychiatric disorders as a way to empower people with mental illness to collaborate with their service-providers in learning how to manage their illnesses. Collaborative models, such as the psychosocial club-house and educational programs that involve both professionals and consumers as teachers, are also seen as important. The model has generated interest in fighting stigma and the creation of services run by people who have experienced mental illness that offer advocacy, mentoring and peer support via peer-to-peer supportive chat-lines and drop-in centers.
The scientific evidence supports several important components of the recovery model including optimism about outcome and the value of empowerment and peer support. One of the most robust findings in schizophrenia research is that 20 per cent of people with the illness will recover completely and another 20 per cent or more will regain good social functioning. Recent research suggests that working helps people recover from schizophrenia and advances in vocational rehabilitation have made employment more achievable. More and more research supports the notion that empowermentis an essential component of the recovery process and that peer-run services are valuable in empowering people with mental illness to improve their outcome from illness.