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Self‐care in mental health services: a narrative review

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Self‐care is an important approach to the management of long‐term health conditions and in preventing ill‐health by living a healthy lifestyle. The concept has been used to a limited extent in relation to mental health, but it overlaps with the related concepts of recovery, self‐management and self‐help. These related concepts all entail individuals having more choice and control over treatment and a greater role in recovery and maintaining their health and well‐being. This paper reviews qualitative empirical research that provides information on the nature of self‐care in mental health from the perspective of people experiencing mental health problems. Twenty qualitative studies were identified from a systematic search of the literature. The methods used in these studies were critically appraised and key themes across studies identified self‐care behaviours and processes supporting self‐care. The paper also highlights challenges to this approach in mental health and provides a conceptual framework of the relationships between self‐care support, self‐care behaviours and strategies, and well‐being for the individual. It also highlights limitations in the current evidence base and identifies areas for future research.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Health and Social Care Research, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK and Adult Psychological Therapies Service, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Wakefield, UK 2: Division of Mental Health, St George’s, University of London, UK 3: NHS Evidence, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, City Tower, Manchester, UK 4: School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK 5: Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London Denmark Hill Campus, UK 6: Kingston Business School, Kingston University, Kingston, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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