Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Recovery-Oriented Practice in Severe Mental Illness

People with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) face more obstacles than others when it comes to achieving their aspirations in life. They have substantial disadvantages in terms of physical health, access to treatment, safety, income, employment and relationships. Their requests for help are related to their mental illness and its consequences, but may also stem from stigma and rejection by others. This professorship by special appointment focuses on the care for people with SMI.

Mental health professionals alone cannot meet all the needs and wishes of people with SMI. Meeting these needs requires integrated recovery care aimed at clinical, personal and social recovery, involving relatives and colleagues from different fields.

Research focus

In recent years, much research has been done on recovery-oriented care. A wide variety of care standards and methodologies have been developed for supporting people with SMI. Yet these have been insufficiently implemented in daily practice and in care-education programmes. Also, their impact on clients, relatives and care professionals has not yet been sufficiently researched.

Professor by special appointment Yolanda Nijssen

Yolanda Nijssen: 'Some 250,000 people in the Netherlands struggle with SMI annually. They often need support in various areas of life. That is why recovery-oriented care focuses not just on complaints and symptoms, but on people in their personal contexts. Despite the positive achievements in mental health care, we can still improve, for example in care provided to help with adversity and trauma. In this professorship we will monitor a variety of aspects such as whether we are doing the right things in the right way and with the right people at the right time and place.'

Our research areas

  • Recovery-oriented attitudes. What competencies do care professionals need? What works well and where do they experience bottlenecks?
  • Optimising care using methodologies and measuring instruments. How to implement this in clinical practice and what does it yield?
  • Cooperation between the client, care professionals and the network (triadic working model). How does this proceed? And how is this experienced?
  • Public perception and stigma. How are people with SMI approached and how does this affect them?

Linking education to research and nursing practice

This professorship by special appointment links the educational programmes of the Faculty of Health (in particular the Bachelor’s programme in Nursing and the Master’s programme of Mental Health Nursing) to the faculty's nursing research programme and clinical practice. The professorship falls under the nursing cluster of the Faculty of Health and operates in close cooperation with the professorship Integrated Complex Care. In addition, this professorship co-facilitates the Urban Vitality Centre of Expertise (UV CoE).

Intensive Complex Care

The professorship also ties in with 1 of the 5 areas of the UV CoE, Intensive Complex Care. The factors examined in this area include social vulnerability, coping, strengthening the support system and improving access to care, and these factors are also relevant to people with SMI.


Yolanda Nijssen | Email: y.nijssen@parnassia.nl | Phone: +31 (0)6 - 821 045 88

Published by  Faculty Sports and Nutrition 11 January 2024