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 move beyond managing symptoms of mental illness and towards improved life satisfaction and quality of life. In 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.

Just like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life and is essential to overall health. Our mental health helps to determine how we adapt to a range of demands, relate to others and make choices. Recognizing one's strengths and having access to the resources necessary to engage in one's recovery journey is important to all individuals.

Learn More about the Components of Recovery Based Care:


Turn Hope into Action 60 Second

Everyday, family members and friends stand by their Veteran loved ones. And sometimes, when times are tough, that support is needed more than ever. ""Turn Hope Into Action"" lets families, friends, and Veterans themselves know that mental health treatment works and recovery is possible.

Video source: Make the Connection

Recovery Update Newsletter Series

The Recovery Update Newsletter was a newsletter series that contains information about Psychosocial Recovery (PSR).

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

Veteran Looking for Support

No matter how Veterans served or what they have experienced in military or civilian life, they may be facing challenges that affect their health, relationships, and life — but they don’t have to face them alone. VA is here to provide and connect them with resources and support to confront and manage any mental health challenge.

Peer Support

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