What does recovery mean for someone living with a serious mental health disorder?

Recovering from mental health disorders includes not only getting better, but achieving a full and satisfying life. Many people affirm that their journey to recovery has not been a straight, steady road. Rather, there are ups and downs, new discoveries and setbacks. Over time, it is possible to look back and see, despite the halting progress and discouragements, how far we have really come. Each time we reach such a milestone, we see that we have recovered a piece of our lives and we draw new strength from it. The journey to full recovery takes time, but positive changes can happen all along the way. Recovery doesn’t necessarily mean remission of symptoms.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) met with a large group of people who defined themselves as being in recovery and developed the following definition: 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.”

SAMHSA’s 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery are:
1. Hope
2. Person-Driven
3. Many Pathways
4. Holistic
5. Peer Support
6. Relational
7. Culture
8. Addresses Trauma
9. Strength/Responsibility
10. Respect

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