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Living Recovery

Youth Speak Out on “Owning” Mental Illness

By Dr. JoAnn Elizabeth Leavey
Subjects Psychology, Social Science, Child Studies
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Paperback : 9781554589173, 165 pages, February 2015
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554589197, 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.