"An Old Way to Solve an Old Problem": Provider Perspectives on Recovery-Oriented Services and Consumer Capabilities in New Mexico. Academic Article uri icon


  • The goal of recovery has emerged as a core value in the reformation of public and private mental health services in the last twenty years. However, definitions of recovery remain as varied as methods of implementation. Through an ethnographic lens, we examine meanings of recovery in the context of a major statewide reform of mental health services in New Mexico, focusing specifically on provider-voiced concerns regarding recovery and recovery-oriented care. We argue that the concept of recovery functions as a symbol that seemingly reconciles the long-standing tension between biological and social explanations of mental illness. Drawing upon provider perspectives, we also discuss concerns that popular rhetoric about recovery may mask some needed fundamental changes to transform the mental health system to a recovery orientation. Finally, we consider recovery from a capabilities standpoint and discuss how this view lends itself to addressing both individual and social components of mental illness.

publication date

  • 2011