Mental health practitioners struggle to translate recovery paradigms into practice. Changing from a focus on remediation of symptoms to a focus on reclaiming life in the community and enhancing protective factors requires a new approach. One new approach that particularly challenges health providers is the equalising of traditional patient-service provider relationships. Given the additional issues of disempowerment and social disadvantage of Indigenous peoples in Australia, equalising relationships and embedding recovery values for Indigenous mental health clients especially require urgent attention. There is also a need to learn more about the meaning of recovery in the Indigenous context and the ways in which it differs from non Indigenous interpretations. The Aboriginal and Islander Mental health initiative (previously the Australian Integrated Mental health initiative) has developed resources and training which seek to address this gap. The resources support a culturally adapted strengths-based approach to assessment and early intervention and are increasing popular in mental health, alcohol and other drug and chronic disease settings. Indigenous people with mental illness are subject to additional complex and toxic combination of social disconnecting factors. Culturally adapted recovery approaches to Indigenous mental illness are thus an important component of closing the gap in Indigenous health.