Meal Preparation and Cooking Group Participation in Mental Health

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Abstract

This qualitative retrospective case study describes the impact of meal preparation and cooking groups on one individual’s transition to independent community living after experiencing severe mental illness and long-term institutionalization. The study was guided by the transformative worldview that focuses on empowering the individual and combating oppression in marginalized populations. Over 200 documents were analyzed from the participant’s medical records and were categorized into three data sources; Providers Progress Notes, Occupational Therapy Progress and Evaluation Reports, and Client’s Daily Goal Setting Sheets. The emergent themes illustrate that meal preparation and cooking groups were a significant component of recovery and discharge for the participant. Secondary themes illustrate challenges and barriers for the participant in relation to the cooking group experience. This study seeks to challenge the prevailing stigmas surrounding long-term psychiatric clients by focusing on one individual’s recovery after long-term, sustained participation in meal preparation and cooking groups.