Mental Health Recovery

What is Recovery?

For many people, the concept of recovery is about staying in control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem.  Professionals in the mental health sector often refer to the ‘recovery model’ to describe this way of thinking.

Putting recovery into action means focusing care on supporting recovery and building the resilience of people with mental health problems, not jhopeust on treating or managing their symptoms. 

There is no single definition of the concept of recovery for people with mental health problems, but the guiding principle is hope – the belief that it is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite serious mental illness.  Recovery is often referred to as a process, outlook, vision, conceptual framework or guiding principle.

The Recovery Process:

  • provides a holistic view of mental illness that focuses on the person, not just their symptoms
  • believes recovery from severe mental illness is possible
  • is a journey rather than a destination
  • does not necessarily mean getting back to where you were before
  • happens in ‘fits and starts’ and, like life, has many ups and downs
  • calls for optimism and commitment from all concerned
  • is profoundly influenced by people’s expectations and attitudes
  • requres a well-organizaed system of support from family, friends or professionals
  • requires services to embrace new and innovative ways of working

The recovery model aims to help people with mental health problems to look beyond mere survival and existence.  It encourages them to move forward, set new goals and do things, and develop relationships that give their lives meaning.

Recovery emphasizes that, while people may not have full control over their symptoms, they can have full control over their lives.  Recovery is not about ‘getting rid’ of problems.  It is about seeing beyond a person’s mental health problems, recognizing and fostering their abilities, interests and dreams.  Mental illness and social attitudes to mental illness often impose limits on people experiencing ill health.  Health professionals, friends and families can be overly protective or pessimistic about what someone with a mental health problem will be able to achieve.  Recovery is about looking beyond those limits to help people achieve their own goals and aspirations. 

Recovery can be a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth.  Experiences of mental illness can provide opportunities for change, reflection and discovery of new values, skills and interests.