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Living Recovery - Youth Speak Out on “Owning” Mental Illness

Living Recovery

Youth Speak Out on “Owning” Mental Illness

by JoAnn Elizabeth Leavey
Subjects Child Studies, Psychology
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Paperback : 9781554589173, 165 pages, February 2015

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Living Recovery: Youth Speak Out on “Owning” Mental Illness by JoAnn Elizabeth Leavey


Chapter One: Framing the Context for Youth with Mental Illness


Terms Used in This Book

Who Is This Book For?

Redefining Our Understanding of Mental "Illness"

The Journey of Youth Through the Mental Health System

Framing the Context for Youth Living with Mental Illness

The Effects of a Mental Illness Diagnosis on Youth

Youth, Metaphor, and Mental Illness

Youth and the Social Construction of Mental Illness

The Significance and Direction of This Work


Chapter Two: How Do Youth Experience Mental Illness?

Prevalence of Mental Illness

Growing Up: Forming Identity and Developmental Tasks for Young People

Some Common Problems Experienced by Youth with Mental Illness


Chapter Three: Youth Participants: Who Are They?

Research Objectives

Why Use Qualitative Research?

The Interviews

Demographic Profile of Participants

My Impressions of Participants


Chapter Four: Youth Speak: Mental Health Experiences and Needs

Data Analysis: Emergency, Loss, Adaptation, and Recovery (ELAR)

What Do Youth Have to Say?

1. Emergence

2. Loss

3. Adaptation

4. Recovery


Chapter Five: Understanding: Integrating the Results

Integrating the Results and the Stages of Emergence, Loss, Adaptation, and Recovery

General Context

Developing Theory about Youth and Mental Illness: A Framework for Understanding

Considerations for Practice

The Stages of Emergence, Loss, Adaptation, and Recovery

Integration and Implications of Key Findings


Chapter Six: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?

Gap in Service Delivery

Significance of Early Intervention

Implications and Suggestions for Testing the Theoretical Framework

Adaptation: A Conceptual Approach

Recovery and Wellness

Implications and Suggestions for Future Program and Policy Design

Limits and Benefits of This Research

Suggestions for Future Research






Living Recovery provides critical information for practitioners and educators in mental health services about the self-described needs of young people diagnosed with mental illness. It portrays the stages of living with mental illness through the recovery model ELAR—emergence, loss, adaptation, and recovery. The author interviewed youth aged sixteen to twenty-seven in Canada, Australia, and the US, and her book relates the price of the stigma surrounding mental illness, especially for young people who are already challenged with the developmental tasks of adolescence. The text examines the youth-described “social illness” of stigma and the resulting self-marginalization they say is necessary to survive stigma and social isolation. When youth feel isolated, ignored, or shunned, the resulting shame and stress they may feel has the potential to exacerbate such illnesses as obsessive compulsive disorder, psychosis, anxiety, and/or various mood disorders.

The findings from this research anticipate and identify interventions that are useful for youth with mental illness. If programs and systems of care take into account youth stories such as those presented here, interventions will become more meaningful and more likely to address problems related to social and emotional distresses.

In charting journeys through the emergence of illness, to loss, adaptation, and recovery, the book reports on how mental illness disrupted these youths’ lives on every level, especially in the transition from late adolescence to young adulthood. But youth also describe ways in which they adapted and recovered and how they came to “own the illness” with a greater sense of agency and self-direction.