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Title: Recovery from what to where : a case study of Chinese mental health service users in the UK
Author: Tang, Lynn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 0589
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This study critically engages with the concept of ‘recovery’ which has become a dominant discursive feature in the UK mental health policies. It asks ‘what people recover from’ through a case study of Chinese mental health service users in the UK. The dominant recovery approach under the dominant neo-liberal context tends to promote individualistic recovery strategies. It fails to address the structural inequalities that give rise to distress and mental ill health or place sufficient emphasis on the diversity of intersectional inequalities among service users that shape recovery journeys. To make visible what recovery means for ethnic minorities, Chinese mental health service users were chosen as the case study to explore how structural factors such as class, gender and ethnicity, contribute to their diverse recovery journeys. A synthesis of the Capabilities Approach and Intersectionality Analysis was developed as an alternative framework to shed light on the complex interplay of structure and agency in shaping recovery journeys. They were adapted as evaluation and analytic tools to reveal the social conditions that facilitate or hinder a meaningful recovery for Chinese mental health service users. Repeat in-depth life history interviews were carried out with twenty two Chinese people having received a psychiatric diagnosis, recruited from three cities in the England. Their recovery journeys were analysed thematically. Findings showed how the participants strove, sometimes cautiously, to retain and exercise agency to move from patienthood to personhood. Their journeys were shaped by social inequalities demonstrating that targeting social inequalities is essential for facilitating and nurturing meaningful recovery. Class, gender, ethnicity, ageism, and other forms of discrimination contributed to the diminishment or deprivation of capabilities, resulting in distress and mental ill health among the Chinese mental health service users in this study. The different ways that these inequalities intersected gave rise to the variations in what they needed to recover from and hence also the directions of their recovery journeys. The process of becoming a psychiatric patient can help develop capabilities for some but it could also result in a diminishment of other capabilities. While striving to rebuild a life they value, ableism and sanism intersect with other inequalities to constrain their life chances. While the way ‘hope’ was ‘adapted’ to limited perceived life chances and dominant ideologies of class, gender, and ethnicity could be capability diminishing and detrimental to nurturing their aspirations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; British Sociological Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RA Public aspects of medicine