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.

What signs or difficulties might be happening that show someone needs help –

  • Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Not wanting to eat or not having a good eating pattern
  • Avoiding people/phone calls or letters
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Brain feeling “woolly” or “foggy”
  • Edgy in public or crowds
  • Not socialising
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
  • Hard to get out of bed or off the sofa because you don’t have any motivation

The process we take our clients through can be quite challenging because it’s a combined effort between ourselves and the individual to make change happen and move forward. We wanted to pinpoint some of the things that show someone is up for the challenge and ready for recovery. Here are some of our ideas…

What are the characteristics of a Hummingbird client –

  • Wanting more and needing change
  • Wanting to feel better and be understood
  • Feeling isolated and wanting to be more included in their own community environment
  • Wanting to get help and be listened to
  • Not wanting to be a burden on others
  • Lacking knowledge of recovery and themselves
  • Having difficulties problem solving
  • Feeling stuck or hemmed in but unable to know how to move forward