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Title: Emerging as a worker : mental health service users' transformation through volunteering
Author: Fegan, Colette M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 8077
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2014
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The purpose of this research was to provide a theoretical analysis of the dynamic relationship between volunteering and personal mental health recovery. There is a gap in the literature investigating the current situation in which a substantial number of service users with enduring mental health problems remain excluded from any mainstream paid work and are unable to fulfil a role linked to work activities. This situation is informed by debates about the concept of recovery, such as what constitutes the quality of that recovery. How volunteering contributes to this process of recovery was the focus of this study. A constructivist approach to grounded theory was used to explore the impact that volunteering had on personal recovery. The research took place in England and comprised two distinct phases utilising in-depth interviews with a total of 19 volunteers. Methods consistent with grounded theory were employed. The first phase generated categories that were further explored and developed in phase 2 with the aim of theoretical saturation. Three main categories: finding meaning and challenge through volunteering; crossing boundaries from patient to volunteer and finding the right sort of work supported a substantive theory Emerging as a worker through volunteering. This proposes that volunteering when supported can enhance recovery because it fosters positive risk taking and validates a valued identity that integrates an experience of mental ill health. Volunteering provides authentic work experience, a socially valued role and it confirms capability and readiness as a worker. The findings of the study suggest that mental health professionals are in a unique position to build partnerships with service users to support their recovery and vocational aspirations by providing opportunities for volunteering. A framework for supporting volunteering is essential although different models warrant further investigation. The study has generated a new theoretical understanding of the experience of volunteering for mental health service users in relation to their recovery.
Supervisor: Cook, Sarah ; Pollard, Nicholas ; Gordon, Frances ; Bramley, Sally Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available