Recovery-oriented practice has become the main mantra in mental health services,irrespective of the way it is understood, accepted and practised. This article aims toanalyse the principles of recovery as stipulated in Australian national policies and toexamine the challenges associated with implementing these in an inpatient mentalhealth facility. Using a qualitative method incorporating a literature review,documentary analysis of policy and standards and reflections on social work practicein an inpatient facility, this analysis reveals a powerful alignment between recovery andsocial work principles. However, the analysis also highlights the noticeable absence ofsocial work in contributions to the literature and research around the move to recoveryorientedpractice. The paper concludes with a call to the social work profession torecognise its potential for taking a leadership role in mental health reform withparticipatory and person-centred approaches.