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Semi-structured interviews were conducted in a health service or community venue to suit participant preference. The topic guide started with a request for participants to share their story of mental health and recovery, with a beginning, a middle and an end. A narrative approach towards the interview allowed scope for individuals to tell their stories in ways they felt most comfortable [24]. Narrative approaches focus on the lives of individuals as told in their own words and through their personal lens. Narrative approaches place emphases on the importance of experiences and meaning, allowing possibilities for understanding experiences and phenomenon through different perspectives [25]. Researcher prompts were used for elaboration and clarity but minimised to allow participants to construct their narratives in their own words. Follow up questions included; who have you shared your story with and why; what was the impact on the recipient and on you, are their aspects of your story you hold back; and has the way you have told your story changed over time. The interviews lasted between 40–90 minutes. They were digitally recorded, professionally transcribed, anonymised and checked for accuracy by the researchers.

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