Mental Health Recovery
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Mental Health Recovery

Mental health recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

--- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Recovery oriented care is patient centered care and can help individuals living with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) move beyond managing symptoms of mental illness and towards improved life satisfaction and quality of life. In the VA, recovery oriented care is Veteran-directed which means the Veteran is actively engaged throughout the treatment planning and recovery process. Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has delineated four major dimensions that are essential to a life in recovery:

  • Health: overcoming or managing one's disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
  • Home: a stable and safe place to live;
  • Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  • Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Video: Overview of Mental Health Recovery

Watch the video below to learn more about recovery oriented care.

Learn more about the components of recovery based care:

Treatment planning in the context of recovery oriented care means attending to whole health and wellness. This includes consideration of each Veteran’s social engagement, spirituality, relationships, and community engagement. Recovery planning requires taking a strengths-based approach, prioritizing a Veteran’s positive abilities and resources.

Recovery action planning is goal oriented. The components of a recovery action plan include:

  • Collaborative assessment of each Veteran’s strengths, resources, and goals
  • Veteran directed planning: the goals are established and written in the language of the Veteran
  • Shared decision-making: collaboratively determining steps towards or actions directly relevant to each Veteran client’s goals and concerns (visit SAMHSA for more information about shared decision-making)
  • Crisis planning

Peer Support

Many Veterans find that that peer support is crucial to recovery. Peer support is important in conveying information, providing support, facilitating skills building, improving social networks, and empowering individual’s to engage successfully in their recovery journey. Please see the following links for peer support information and resources: