Voices of Experience: Narratives of Mental Health Survivors

Voices of Experience: Narratives of Mental Health Survivors

Voices of Experience: Narratives of Mental Health Survivors

Voices of Experience: Narratives of Mental Health Survivors


Voices of Experience contains a wide range of stories written by mental health survivors. The narratives illustrate how survivors have developed self-management techniques and strategies for living which, together, offer a guide to anybody struggling with 21st century life.
  • Explores a wide variety of mental distress experiences, underpinned by many different explanations and beliefs
  • Narrative has been central to the recovery approach and this book presents stories of recovery as well as an appraisal of the concept
  • Challenges simplistic explanations of recovery and offers a critical angle to our understanding of what it means to experience mental health problems
  • Offers guidance for mental health workers and professionals within the context of current mental health policies in the UK


In this book people with experience of living with mental health problems talk about how they cope, survive, manage, recover, discover, struggle, combat discrimination, thrive, become liberated and grow - in essence, how they live their lives.

Their stories are about finding meaning and explanations. They are about their beliefs and their strategies for life - strategies that are rooted in deep personal experience. This experience is their expertise and offers a guide to others who may be struggling with living and surviving in the twenty-first century. If anybody can teach us about how to live in our modern, or postmodern, world, it is people who have struggled with the complexities of existence and found their own unique ways of surviving, learning and moving on.

Stories and Narratives

This book can be read on different levels. Certainly, it contains stories that may inspire hope and encouragement. Also, the book may be read as a textbook and the contents may be treated as research that can stimulate inquiry. Either way, what is central is the importance of true stories of people’s lives. In textbook language, stories are often referred to as narratives. Some say that narratives have been fundamental to the development of human history, culture and individual identity (Brockmeier, 2001; Benwell & Stokoe, 2006). Thus storytelling provides meaning to events and enables people to make sense of their world:

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