Preliminary outcomes of a pilot therapeutic recreation camp for people with a mental illness: Links to recovery
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Many people who live with a serious and enduring mental illness describe themselves 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 appealed to many camp participants due to inactivity and unchanging daily existences. Individual 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 embracing 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.