Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP)

“[Recovery is] a deeply personal, unique process of changing one's attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even with the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one's life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness...”

Anthony 1993, from The Sainsbury Centre 2008: Making Recovery a Reality

The aim of the WaRP is to change the culture of mental health services and people's attitudes to mental health in Dorset through promoting the principles of wellbeing and the philosophy of recovery. Central to this is the partnership between people with lived experience, their supporters and mental health professionals.

The WaRP is a partnership between the Dorset Mental Health Forum (DMHF) and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust (DHUFT). The WaRP was initially established in 2009 in West Dorset between NHS Dorset: Community Health Services (DCHS) and the DMHF. The DHUFT formally joined the partnership in December 2010 and since then the WaRP has been working across the whole of Dorset.

The Dorset WaRP magazine 2016

The 2016 WaRP magazine has now been published and you can download a copy by clicking on the cover icon to the right. The purpose of this magazine is to share our learning of how we are developing approaches to Recovery and Co-Production in Dorset.

Central to this is the importance of shared learning between people with lived experience, their supporters and professionals. We are wanting to highlight examples from practice and the progress that has been made and to demonstrate what is possible.

Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) Biennial Report

Biennial Report

The Biennial Report and Executive Summary for the Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership have now been published. The documents cover the period 2012-2014 and details the achievements of the partnership between the Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust in supporting people using local mental health services and their carers


To read and/or download the documents plus for some more information on the WaRP  

please click here

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Hidden Talents

Hidden Talents is part of the Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership and is a project set up for Dorset HealthCare staff who identify themselves as having lived experience of a mental health condition and/or emotional distress.

The Hidden Talents group is aiming to challenge attitudes and stigma further and to bring about better understanding of mental health problems, through the launch and publication of a new film and information booklet, featuring inspirational stories from people within Dorset HealthCare’s workforce.

The Hidden Talents film can be seen on the Dorset Healthcare YouTube channel by clicking this link - Hidden Talents Film.

The booklet (accessed by clicking the icon above) has a foreword by Dorset HealthCare’s Chief Executive Ron Shields and provides more personal testimony alongside contributions from directors and senior managers about the need for change.

The three aims of this booklet are:

  1. tackle stigma of mental health problems through the use of recovery narratives and creative expression
  2. to take the opportunity to learn from the lived experience of staff and provide some initial guidance about how to effectively support people with their emotional wellbeing
  3. to improve the experience for everyone accessing and working within the service, by creating a discussion centred around how best to support people, underpinned by the recovery approach

If you would like to join the Hidden Talents group or to be kept out to date with our work then please contact us at and a member of the team will contact you. We would also be happy to come along and talk to your team - just let us know when is convenient for you

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Supporting Staff Recovery

The Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) has published a collection of papers called Supporting the Recovery Journeys of Staff.

The Wellbeing@work tool provides a simple supportive way to enhance work based conversations that focus on an individual's wellbeing. The Sharing of Lived Experience document looks at how all staff can use their own lived experience of trauma and life to create a recovery focused workforce and culture. The Lived Experience Survey highlights how commonplace and normal mental health problems are and the importance of seizing this opportunity to celebrate and utilise all lived experience and expertise.

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Transitions - Recovery Art & Narratives Project

Transitions - A Recovery Art and Narratives Project“This project has modelled true partnership working and a sharing of expertise; through the use of an Artist and a Peer Specialist. The artist involved has been able to nurture creative ideas, this, accompanied with a sharing of common ground with a peer specialist has enabled people to provide their narratives.”
Jackie Lawson, Recovery Co-Lead, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

You can download the Transitions brochure which gives lots of background detail about the project and features fantastic pieces of expressive artwork, demonstrating the amazing insights and inspiring stories people can share..

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Recovery Principles

  • Recovery is about building a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by the person themselves, whether or not there are ongoing or recurring symptoms or problems
  • Recovery represents a movement away from pathology, illness and symptoms to health, strengths and wellness
  • Hope is central to recovery and can be enhanced by each person seeing how they can have more active control over their lives ('agency') and by seeing how others have found a way forward
  • Self-management is encouraged and facilitated. The processes of self-management are similar, but what works may be very different for each individual. No 'one size fits all'
  • The helping relationship between clinicians and patients moves away from being expert/patient to being 'coaches' or 'partners' on a journey of discovery. Clinicians are there to be 'on tap, not on top'
  • People do not recover in isolation. Recovery is closely associated with social inclusion and being able to take on meaningful and satisfying social roles within local communities, rather than in segregated services
  • Recovery is about discovering – or rediscovering – a sense of personal identity, separate from illness or disability
  • The language used and the stories and meanings that are constructed have great significance as mediators of the recovery process. These shared meanings either support a sense of hope and possibility, or invite pessimism and chronicity
  • The development of recovery–based services emphasises the personal qualities of staff as much as their formal qualifications. It seeks to cultivate their capacity for hope, creativity, care, compassion, realism and resilience
  • Family and other supporters are often crucial to recovery and they should be included as partners wherever possible. However, peer support is central for many people in their recovery

Adapted from Recovery - Concepts and Application by Laurie Davidson, The Devon Recovery Group

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