Many people falsely believe that “recovery” in mental health care only refers to recovery from substance use. However, the concept of recovery actually can be applied to anyone seeking change or transformation. The root of the word “recovery” is in the french verb “recovrer,” which means to “get back.” So, I ask you this: What aspect of your own life would you like to recover or get back?
The Recovery Model
There is a history in our country of frequent marginalization and labeling of the “mentally ill.” Thankfully, the mental health system is in the midst of a change, as county mental health programs are being overhauled and many are adopting the Recovery Model. In my experience working in mental health agencies, I have found the Recovery Model to be extremely helpful.
The Recovery Model is both a theory and a model for care, and includes the following aspects of recovery:
Hope: Every individual has the potential to achieve their goals, and recovery can occur with ease, if individuals are given adequate support.
Self-directed: Every individual is an expert on their own experience. Mental health clinicians should be seen as allies, as opposed to specialists. Only the individual themselves can truly choose their path.
Individualized path to recovery: Every person is different. There is no one solution that will work for everyone.
Holistic: Recovery must involve all aspects of a person, including mind, body, spirit and community.
Social networks/relationships/peer support: A path to recovery must involve not just the individual, but also families and communities.
Culturally-influenced: Any treatment program must consider, and be tailored to, the individual's unique cultural experience, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and ability/disability.
Trauma-informed: The Recovery Model acknowledges the prevalence of trauma and recognizes the degree that trauma impacts individuals and contributes to mental health issues.