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Preliminary Outcomes of a Pilot Therapeutic Recreation Camp for People with a Mental Illness: Links to Recovery

Lorna Moxham, Susan Ann Liersch-Sumskis, Ellie Taylor, Christopher Patterson, Renee Brighton

Abstract


Many people who live with a serious and enduring mental illness describe them-selves as leading sedentary and highly routine existences as a result of the constant need to manage symptoms of their illness. Twenty-seven people with a lived experience of mental illness volunteered to participate in a pilot Therapeutic Recovery Camp project. The camp aimed to envelope consumers in an experience of therapeutic recovery via a strengths based five-day outdoor camp held in the Australian bush. The opportunity to get out of their comfort zone by participating in physically and mentally challenging activities ap-pealed to many camp participants due to inactivity and unchanging daily existences. In-dividual participant expectations were collected via a survey precamp and the degree to which these were met was measured postcamp using a Likert rating scale. Consumers rated the camp as a success. Participants took full advantage of the challenges while also embrac-ing the stress caused by leaving their comfort zone. Overall, engagement in therapeutic recreation as experienced during the Recovery Camp facilitated a sense of purpose toward overcoming challenges brought about by living with a mental illness. This is an important component of a person's recovery journey.


Keywords


therapeutic recreation; mental illness; recovery; resilience

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