Mental Health Recovery is as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. In a broad sense, to be in recovery refers to finding ways of resolving issues that arise in the course of having a mental illness and creating a more positive, meaningful, and satisfying way of life. Recovery is possible! The value of recovery and recovery-oriented behavioral health systems is widely accepted by states, communities, health care providers, and researchers.
Four Major Dimensions that Support a Life in Recovery:
- Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms—for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem—and, for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being
- Home—having a stable and safe place to live
- Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
- Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope
People in recovery offer the following suggestions:
- Focus on your strengths.
- Focus on solving problems.
- Focus on the future instead of reviewing hurts from the past.
- Focus on your life instead of your illness.
Mental Health Resiliency is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. It is the ability to bounce back from difficulties and maintain healthy mental and physical functioning in the face of disruption or chaos. Resiliency is about harnessing inner strengths and rebounding more quickly from a setback or challenge, as opposed to dwelling on problems, feeling victimized or turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It will not necessarily make problems go away but it may give one the ability to see past them, find some enjoyment in life and handle future stressors more effectively.
The following steps can help build Resiliency:
- Develop a positive attitude—When life becomes challenging, it is important to develop positive self-talk. This means saying things such as “you are strong” or “you can grow stronger and wiser while handling life’s challenges.”
- Strengthen emotional awareness—Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by their emotions, which immobilizes and/or frightens them. Knowing why one feels upset can provide valuable information about what needs to change. Maintaining a journal can be helpful to this process. Do research on how to meet the specific challenges being faced.
- Develop an internal locus of control—An individual with an internal locus of control believes that they, rather than outside forces, are in control of their own lives. Although life’s circumstances cannot always be controlled, how one responds to these circumstances can be controlled.
- Garner social support—People with strong networks of social support tend to stay happier and healthier throughout life, and tend to handle stress better. Supportive and positive friends and family can help lighten the load when a challenge is faced.
- Cultivate optimism—More than just looking at the bright side of life, optimism means maximizing strengths and accomplishments while minimizing setbacks and weaknesses.
- Do not give up—the most successful outcome occurs when individuals focus on long-term change. Do not give up on a difficult situation, instead keep working towards getting through it.