Recovery from severe mental illness in Québec: The role of culture and place

Boucher, M.-E., Groleau, D., & Whitley, R. (2019)

Health & Place

56 | 63-69


The overall aim of this article is to examine the self-defined role of romantic relationships, intimacy and sexuality in recovery from severe mental illness.


Semistructured interviews were conducted with 35 people with severe mental illness, accompanied by participant observation. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.


The vast majority of participants considered a supportive relationship that was emotionally or sexually intimate to be a key facilitator and indicator of recovery. However, only a small minority of participants were actually in such a relationship. Participants reported numerous barriers to forming and maintaining such relationships such as financial strain and enduring stigma against people with mental illness.

Addressing relational and intimate needs have not been a focus of traditional psychiatric services. As such, some form of « supported dating » within the field of psychosocial rehabilitation may be an essential development to foster an oft-overlooked but important aspect of recovery