National Alliance on
Mental Illness Southern Arizona

Recovery

The 10 Components of Recovery

Consumers lead, control, exercise choice over and determine their own path of recovery by optimizing autonomy, independence and control of resources to achieve a self-determined life. By definition, the recovery process must be self-directed by the individual, who defines his or her own life goals and designs a unique path towards those goals.

There are multiple pathways to recovery based on an individual’s unique strengths and resilience as well as his or her needs, preferences, experiences (including past trauma) and cultural background in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an ongoing journey and an end result as well as an overall paradigm for achieving wellness and optimal mental health.

Consumers have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions—including the allocation of resources—that will affect their lives, and are educated and supported in so doing. They have the ability to join with other consumers to collectively and effectively speak for themselves about their needs, wants, desires and aspirations. Through empowerment, an individual gains control of his or her own destiny and influences the organizational and societal structures in his or her life.

Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit and community. Recovery embraces all aspects of life including housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare treatment and services, complementary and naturalistic services, addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation and family supports as determined by the person. Families, providers, organizations, systems, communities and society play crucial roles in creating and maintaining meaningful opportunities for consumer access to these supports.

Recovery is not a step-by-step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks and learning from experience. Recovery begins with an initial stage of awareness in which a person recognizes that positive change is possible. This awareness enables the consumer to move on to fully engage in the work of recovery.

Recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resilience, talents, coping abilities,and inherent worth of individuals. By building on these strengths, consumers leave stymied life roles behind and engage in new life roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee). The process of recovery moves forward through interaction with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.

Mutual support—including the sharing of experiential knowledge, skills and social learning—plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles and community.

Community, systems, societal acceptance and appreciation of consumers —including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma—are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly vital. Respect ensures the inclusion and full participation of consumers in all aspects of their lives.

Consumers have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Taking steps towards their goals may require great courage. Consumers must strive to understand and give meaning to their experiences and identify coping strategies and healing processes to promote their own wellness.

Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future— that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized; but can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process. Mental health recovery not only benefits individuals with mental health disabilities by focusing on their abilities to live, work, learn,and fully participate in our society, but also enriches the texture of American community life. America reaps the benefits of the contributions individuals with mental disabilities can make, ultimately becoming a stronger and healthier Nation.

Famous People Known to Have Coped with Mental Illness

Leo Tolstoy, author

Charles Dickens, English author

John Keats, poet

Michelangelo, artist

Bette Midler, entertainer

Charles Schultz, cartoonist

Dick Clark, entertainer

Irving Berlin, composer

Rosemary Clooney, singer

Burgess Meredith, actor

Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky, composer

Charlie Pride, singer

Sylvia Plath, poet and novelist.

Janet Jackson, singer

Patty Duke, actress

Roseanne Barr, comedian

Marlon Brando, actor

Maurice Bernard, actor

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut

Margot Kidder, actress

Jonathon Winters, comedian

Pat Conroy, author

Ernest Hemingway, Pulitzer-winning author

Robin Williams, actor

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