In the current context of deinstitutionalization, building a sense of community inclusion is essential for recovery from mental illness. Therapeutic recreation (TR) uses leisure and recreation in individual and group settings to foster community inclusion, health, and well-being. TR's client-centred and strengths-based approaches respect the lived experience of individuals with mental illness. Yet the field of TR, similar to many health promotion professions, has difficulty capturing the impact of its interventions. ODG's Thrive Program, which provides TR services to individuals living with mental illness, has partnered with the TR Department at Douglas College to address gaps in the literature and in practice. In this community-based participatory research project we seek to answer two questions: 1. How do individuals living with mental illness experience community inclusion, health, and well-being? 2. What are meaningful, practical, and relevant ways to represent community inclusion, health, and well-being for those living with mental illness? Individuals living with mental illness will work with undergraduate students from the College to manage the knowledge translation and exchange activities that are woven throughout this project. Project findings will be disseminated to a diverse group of stakeholders via a photo exhibit, e-newsletters, and an evidence-based tool kit that will aid in the design and implementation of TR services for people living with mental illness.
Research Team members:
Dr. Marina Niks, Evaluation Consultant, Ms. Sarah Moore, Co-Investigator, Dr. Wendy Frisby, Co-Investigator, Dr. Marina Morrow, Co-Investigator, Ms. Janice Spencer, Co-Investigator, Mr. Tom Burnell, Co-Investigator, and Ms. Ania Landy, Project Manager.