Black women, recovery and resilience

Recovery and Resilience presents stories of recovery from mental and emotional distress, based on twenty seven interviews with women from African, African Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds.The project was developed by Survivor Research and based at the Mental Health Foundation.


Existing research shows that black women face unequal and unfair treatment within mental health services and that their needs are often not met in service provision. The current literature on recovery does not include enough understanding of the experiences of women from these communities. The main aim of the project was to explore the concept of recovery from the perspectives of black women and present positive stories, highlighting what helped women regain a sense of self and identity and overcome the causes and consequences of mental distress.


The stories highlight that for recovery to be real and lasting, we need to take on board black women's definitions of distress and how we make sense of it, including social, cultural and familial oppression and experiences of racism, sexism, violence, and cultural confusions. They also show that recovery models and programmes need to understand the 'pre-story' going beyond the diagnosis and looking at the causes and contexts of distress.

The report was launched on 23rd March 2011.

Read the full report

Read the executive summary

Read the recommendations

Read Black Women and Recovery: Lessons in Healing