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Black African service users experiences of recovery from mental illness in England

Tuffour, I. (2017). Black African service users experiences of recovery from mental illness in England. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Background: Recovery is a complex and contested concept. Many studies have explored the meaning of the concept from the perspectives of service users suffering from mental illness. However, too little attention has been paid to the experiences of Black African service users (BASUs) living in England. At the time of writing this work there were no studies that have explored recovery from the perspectives of BASUs in England.

Aims of the study: The aim of the present study is to explore experiences of recovery from mental illness of BASUs in England.

Methodology and methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve BASUs. The interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

Findings: Five superordinate themes were derived from the analysis: (1) it is different in Africa; (2) it all started in England; (3) shattered; 4) ‘freaked out’; and (5) focus on recovery. An in-depth explanation of these superordinate themes and the related subordinate themes is presented. The findings highlight the multifaceted ways in which BASUs understand their experiences of mental illness and recovery.

Discussion: The insight gained from these findings provided rich information about the complexities of the participants’ experiences of recovery from mental illness. Participants’ explanatory models of mental illness included the complexities of migration, African-centred worldviews and negative life experiences. Participants conceptualised recovery in the context of their social and cultural backgrounds, remission or eradication of symptoms, spirituality, resourcefulness, resilience and unique personal identities. An emerging conceptual model of recovery is formed (Figure 3).

Findings are discussed considering existing theory and literature. Implications for clinical practice in relation to the provision of care and promoting recovery for BASUs in England are considered.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Health Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health Sciences > Nursing
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