Open Access Open Badges Research article

The process of recovery of people with mental illness: The perspectives of patients, family members and care providers: Part 1

Sylvie Noiseux12*, Denise Tribble St-Cyr34, Ellen Corin5, Pierre-Luc St-Hilaire6, Raymond Morissette7, Claude Leclerc8, Danielle Fleury9, Luc Vigneault10 and Francine Gagnier11

Author Affiliations

1 Research Centre of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CR-CHUM), Masson Building, 3850 Saint Urbain Street, Montreal, Quebec, H2W 1T7, Canada

2 Faculty of Nursing, University of Montreal, P.O.B. 6128, Centre-Ville Station, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7, Canada

3 School of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sherbrooke University, 3001, 12th Avenue North, Sherbrooke, Quebec, J1 H 5N4, Canada

4 Sherbrooke University Hospital Research Centre (CRC-Etienne-Lebel-CHUS), Canada

5 Douglas Research Institute, Lehmann Building, 6875 LaSalle Boulevard, Suite G-1123, Verdun, Quebec, H4 H 1R3, Canada

6 Research Centre of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CR-CHUM), Masson Building, 3850 Saint Urbain Street, Montreal, Quebec, H2W 1T7, Canada

7 Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, 7401 Hochelaga Street, Montreal, Quebec, H1N 3M5, Canada

8 Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, 3351 Des Forges Boulevard, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, G9A 5H7, Canada

9 Director of Nursing, University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM), 1001 Saint Denis Street, Montreal, Quebec, H2X 3H1, Canada

10 Executive Director, Association des personnes utilisatrices des services de santé mentale, Quebec Region (APUR), 165 Carillon Street, Suite 316, Quebec, Quebec, GIK 9E9, Canada

11 Systems Analyst, University of Montreal, 7077 Du Parc Avenue, Suite 3035, Montreal, Quebec, H3N 1X7, Canada

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:161  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-161

Published: 11 June 2010



It is a qualitative design study that examines points of divergence and convergence in the perspectives on recovery of 36 participants or 12 triads. Each triad comprising a patient, a family member/friend, a care provider and documents the procedural, analytic of triangulating perspectives as a means of understanding the recovery process which is illustrated by four case studies. Variations are considered as they relate to individual characteristics, type of participant (patient, family, member/friend and care provider), and mental illness. This paper which is part of a larger study and is based on a qualitative research design documents the process of recovery of people with mental illness: Developing a Model of Recovery in Mental Health: A middle range theory.


Data were collected in field notes through semi-structured interviews based on three interview guides (one for patients, one for family members/friends, and one for caregivers). Cross analysis and triangulation methods were used to analyse the areas of convergence and divergence on the recovery process of all triads.


In general, with the 36 participants united in 12 triads, two themes emerge from the cross-analysis process or triangulation of data sources (12 triads analysis in 12 cases studies). Two themes emerge from the analysis process of the content of 36 interviews with participants: (1) Revealing dynamic context, situating patients in their dynamic context; and (2) Relationship issues in a recovery process, furthering our understanding of such issues. We provide four case studies examples (among 12 cases studies) to illustrate the variations in the way recovery is perceived, interpreted and expressed in relation to the different contexts of interaction.


The perspectives of the three participants (patients, family members/friends and care providers) suggest that recovery depends on constructing meaning around mental illness experiences and that the process is based on each person's dynamic context (e.g., social network, relationship), life experiences and other social determinants (e.g., symptoms, environment). The findings of this study add to existing knowledge about the determinants of the recovery of persons suffering with a mental illness and significant other utilizing public mental health services in Montreal, Canada.