Current Irish governmental policies advocate the development and evaluation of recovery-orientated mental health services. This study evaluated a new recovery-orientated mental health service in the Health Service Executive West region. During 2007–2008, long-term users of the service (N = 39) were interviewed to obtain their individual perspectives and experiences of attending the service. A semi-structured interview collected quantitative and qualitative data on seven recovery-related themes. Specific emphasis was placed on assessing performance-related tasks. Schizophrenia was the most common psychiatric diagnosis (46%). The results revealed that service users relied on the service for basic needs, including regular midday meals (90%), personal care (40%), and housing (50%). One-in-four service users correctly reported a psychiatric diagnosis that was consistent with their medical file. Although several service users were forthcoming with recommendations about how the service could change in the future, acquiescence was evident in a number of interviews. In conclusion, the service in this study essentially provides care for the service users, but does not empower them to live productive and goal-orientated lives. This practice does not appear to be congruent with current government policies advocating that mental health services adopt a model of least restrictive care in daily interactions with service users.
- service user
- mental health