Background: Mental health recovery is still largely clinically defined and as such can lack person centeredness. To address this, recovery oriented experiences are required which recognise the holistic and diverse needs of individuals.
Aim: The aim of the study was to examine the experiences of people living with a mental illness who participated in a recovery oriented program called Recovery Camp. The study aimed to examine how the program may have related and contributed to their mental health recovery.
Methods: A descriptive phenomenological approach guided the study. Consenting participants (n = 5) were interviewed and asked about their subjective experience of Recovery Camp. The interviews were digitally audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using van Kaam's Psychophenomenological method.
Findings: This paper presents the perspective of consumers regarding the ways in which Recovery Camp facilitated mental health recovery. Data analysis revealed five themes (Self-determination, Participation, Extending Self, Relationships and Positive change) and a core essence of meaning (Empowerment).
Conclusions: Personal mental health recovery for people living with mental illness can be enhanced through recovery oriented mental health care approaches. Findings contribute to existing literature regarding therapeutic recreation and its link to mental health recovery.