Wellness Perceptions of Clients with Serious Mental Illness

Alison Koci

Purpose: This study identified wellness perceptions and ideas of related programs within Vancouver Community Mental Health Services (VCMHS) for clients with serious mental illness (SMI). Benefits, barriers, and gaps in wellness services were identified to provide a foundation for future research in wellness and mental health.

Methods: In this qualitative ethnographic approach, seven VCMHS clients with serious mental illness were interviewed regarding their perceptions of wellness and related programs.

Findings: Wellness was associated with positive meaningful activities and the interconnection of physical and mental health. Most participants indicated that physical activity and socialization were important aspects of wellness. Recreation or leisure-based wellness programs were identified as important contributors to wellness, whereas mental health challenges and organizational structure were the greatest barriers.

Conclusion: Findings support the development of wellness programs that incorporate both physical and social integration to enhance quality of life through purposeful activities.