Whole Person Recovery

Whole Person Recovery in West Kent

Given its history of progressing ideas and research into practice, the RSA has been seeking an opportunity to implement (at scale) its Whole Person Recovery system and findings around how to understand and foster recovery capital.  In partnership with CRI and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, we are very pleased to announce that we have been awarded a contract to deliver this approach in West Kent as one of the national 'payment by results' pilots.

This is a significant step for the RSA in its ambitions to influence drug policy and practice, and to increase the impact and visibility of the RSA on the ground. The work will commence from April 2012 and last for two years in the first instance.  Broadly, our aims are to:

  • significantly improve recovery outcomes for people experiencing substance misuse problems in West Kent;
  • test the RSA's Whole Person Recovery model in a robust way, at scale, as part of an integrated recovery system, and understand how it adds value; and
  • understand how services work in a 'payment by results' context.

This is an exciting and ambitious piece of work that will require a 'whole RSA' approach. We hope to work closely with local Fellows in taking this work forward. We will add more information about the plans for the forthcoming work to these webpages over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss the project in more detail or find out how to get involved, please email Susie Pascoe.

The journey to Whole Person Recovery

In March 2007, the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy published 'Drugs-Facing Facts', a report highlighting some of the critical challenges to public policy concerning illegal drugs and some of the most important issues about the effect of illegal drugs on communities and users.  The report made more than 20 policy recommendations including a call for a new legal framework for the regulation of drugs.

Two of the Commission's most challenging recommendations centred on the need for more personalised drug services and more meaningful service user involvement. In 2009 the RSA embarked on an ambitious programme of work to take forward these at two project sites in West Sussex: Bognor Regis and Crawley.

The Whole Person Recovery project (which began life as the User Centred Drug Services Project) worked with more than 200 former and current problem drug and alcohol users to better understand the lived experience of recovery. By focussing on what individuals want and need to support them in sustaining their recovery we aimed to test how far users could be involved in the design, development and delivery of the range of services they wanted to see in their communities.

The project led to the report 'Whole Person Recovery: a user-centred systems approach to problem drug use' which launched our idea of a community based model of change – the Whole Person Recovery System - that offers an improvement model for commissioners of local services and other local stakeholders that will ultimately improve the resilience and well-being of whole communities, creating the environments in which more people are able to recover and sustain their recovery.

The system identifies the types of activities that individuals, organisations and communities must engage in to generate and acquire the 'recovery capital' needed to enable and support long term recovery. Working with local stakeholders in Bognor Regis and Crawley, we took forward a series of local innovations designed to generate the recovery capital they prioritised including:

Here is a short film designed to encourage more GPs to understand their role in the recovery process and engage in a far more positive manner.

This film was developed and filmed with local people in recovery - mostly drawn from Arun EXACT. You can watch the development of the film storyboard.