Research into Recovery and Wellbeing

A website about the work of the recovery research team at the Institute of Mental Health

The University of Nottingham

About NEON

"Stories carry in their DNA a blueprint for survival" - John Yorke


Why are we doing this research?

Psychosis can be a distressing and painful experience, with potential for serious long-term impact on relationships, employment, lifestyle and personal identity.  The stigma that still surrounds mental ill health can create barriers to seeking help, and cause despair for the person experiencing psychosis and for staff in mental health services. These combined issues can make it hard for people to believe that personal recovery is possible. Stories from peers about their struggles and resilience are known to inspire hope, but access to these stories can sometimes be limited.

Many people experiencing psychosis have never had the opportunity to hear another person’s experience of psychosis, told in their own words. NEON fills this gap by increasing access to online stories of experience, in order to build on the capacity of people with psychosis to offer hope to others.

What do we mean by recovery?

Recovery in this context means the ability to live life as well as possible, as defined by the individual themselves, with or without continuing to experience mental health problems.  One of the most widely-used definitions of personal recovery states that it is a "deeply personal, unique process ... a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness" (Bill Anthony, 1993).  

What will our approach be?

NEON will draw on a range of methods recommended by the Medical Research Council. The study has several stages:

  • Collection and analysis of narratives from four groups of up to 30 people with experiences of psychosis and other mental health difficulties. These groups were chosen as there are fewer recovery stories available about their experiences.  More information about the four groups and taking part in the research will be added to the "get involved" page soon.
  • Three systematic literature reviews to find out which elements of existing and new recovery narratives may best help others; and to explore best practice in designing online repositories.  We will use this to identify guiding principles and develop a conceptual framework. 
  • Development of an online self-management tool which will match the most hope-promoting narratives to recipients’ self-identified needs and experiences. We will also assess the practicalities and safety of carrying out a research trial in a feasibility study.
  • Development of an online training intervention for mental health professionals to increase expectation that recovery is likely for people with psychosis
  • The main component of the study will be a research trial. We will recruit over 680 people with psychosis nationally, to test whether the experience of online recovery accounts, compared to no experience, leads to increased quality of life six months later.