'And the stuff that I'm able to achieve now is really amazing': The potential of personal budgets as a mechanism for supporting recovery in mental health
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© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers.While there is substantial common ground between the ideas of self-directed support and recovery, there are also significant differences in how these ideas have been implemented in policy and practice. This paper develops an 'ideal type' model of how personal budgets may need to be set up for people with mental health difficulties if they are to be effective as a mechanism that can enable recovery. Aspects of this 'ideal type' model are then examined in relation to the reported experiences of people accessing personal budgets from a national study of the implementation of personal budgets in mental health in England. In-depth qualitative interviews were undertaken across three local authority areas with fifty-three people with serious mental health difficulties who had accessed personal budgets in 2012-13. Our findings suggest that personal budgets can support recovery thinking and processes, and can be used to mobilise relevant resources to make this possible. Key to achieving this can be co-productive and/or peer-supported processes of assessment and planning. In addition, resource allocation may need to be flexible to take account of fluctuating levels of mental distress, and budgets should be linked to recovery goals rather than assuming long-term care needs.