Pyscho education, the goal of which is to help people better understand (and become accustomed to living with) mental health conditions, is an essential aspect of all our therapeutic programs. It is based on the concept that those who have a thorough understanding of the challenges they are facing, knowledge of personal coping abilities, internal and external resources and their own strengths are often better able to address difficulties. This will help them feel more in control of the condition(s), and have a greater internal capacity to work toward mental and emotional well-being.
Recovery is about the journey that an individual goes on. In many ways that journey is a more important process that actually arriving at any one destination. Recovery is often referred to as a process, outlook, vision, conceptual framework or guiding principle.
The recovery process:
- provides a holistic view of mental illness that focuses on the person, not just their symptoms
- believes recovery from severe mental illness is possible
- is a journey rather than a destination
- does not necessarily mean getting back to where you were before
- happens in ‘fits and starts’ and, like life, has many ups and downs
- calls for optimism and commitment from all concerned
- is profoundly influenced by people’s expectations and attitudes
- requires a well organised system of support from family, friends or professionals
- requires services to embrace new and innovative ways of working.
The recovery model aims to help people with mental health problems to look beyond mere survival and existence. It encourages them to move forward, set new goals and do things and develop relationships that give their lives meaning.
Recovery emphasises that, while people may not have full control over their symptoms, they can have full control over their lives. Recovery is not about ‘getting rid’ of problems. It is about seeing beyond a person’s mental health problems, recognising and fostering their abilities, interests and dreams.
Mental illness and social attitudes to mental illness often impose limits on people experiencing ill health. health professionals, friends and families can be overly protective or pessimistic about what someone with a mental health problem will be able to achieve. Recovery is about looking beyond those limits to help people achieve their own goals and aspirations.
Recovery can be a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth. Experiences of mental illness can provide opportunities for change, reflection and discovery of new values, skills and interests.
Research has found that important factors on the road to recovery include:
- good relationships
- financial security
- satisfying work
- personal growth
- the right living environment
- developing one’s own cultural or spiritual perspectives
- developing resilience to possible adversity or stress in the future.
Further factors highlighted by people as supporting them on their recovery journey include:
- being believed in
- being listened to and understood
- getting explanations for problems or experiences
- having the opportunity to temporarily resign responsibility during periods of crisis.
In addition, it is important that anyone who is supporting someone during the recovery process encourages them to develop their skills and supports them to achieve their goals.
WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning)
WRAP is a self-management and recovery system developed in the US by people with mental health difficulties. People are supported to create their own wellness recovery action plan, setting out their goals, what help they need to get there, what helps keep them well, and what puts their mental health at risk. WRAP aims to:
- increase the person’s sense of control over their mental health problems
- increase personal empowerment
- improve quality of life
- assist people in achieving their own life goals and dreams.
A WRAP will also state how the person wants others to respond when symptoms have made it impossible for them to continue to make decisions safely for themselves and take care of themselves.
You can find out more about WRAP on the Mental Health Recovery and WRAP website.