RECOVERY

Homeless father and son
RECOVERY from mental illness is possible ... with safe and affordable housing and appropriate supports.

Affordable housing for the mentally ill

Since there is a shortage of affordable housing for the people with mental illness,the Government should expand the number of safe,affordable independent housing units in order make recovery possible.

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The Federal Government should increase the funding for provincial governments and non-profit groups to provide housing for the mentally ill.

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Recovery

OUT OF THE SHADOWS AT LAST

Transforming Mental Health,Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,Science and Technology

The Honourable Michael J. L. Kirby,Chair
The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon,Deputy Chair

May 2006

Recovery

This report focuses on facilitating the recovery of people living with mental illness and addiction. Widely documented in the field of addictions,the idea of recovery has been applied only relatively recently (over the past decade) to mental illness. The goal of recovery for people living with mental illness has nonetheless gained considerable acceptance in that time.

The Committee noted previously that:Recovery is not the same thing as being cured. For many individuals,it is a way of living a satisfying,hopeful,and productive life even with limitations caused by the illness;for others,recovery means the reduction or complete remission of symptoms related to mental illness.

Anxious

Mental Health Reform

The Committee believes that recovery must be placed at the centre of mental health reform. Studies have shown that even people with the most severe mental illnesses who have been decades under institutional care,can and do recover. Long-term studies of the impact of serious mental illness have demonstrated that a significant number of affected people are able to regain full function.

Although the term recovery also has a number of drawbacks,the Committee nonetheless believes it is the most appropriate one for all the reasons outlined in this section. The Committee is aware that not everyone living with a mental illness will be able to recover,but,as explained below,it believes recovery to be the primary goal around which the mental health delivery system should be organized.

Depressed

Here is what researchers and practitionres have to say about recovery.

Recovery has increasingly been embraced within the broader mental health sector,as well as in government circles. For example,as the Committee noted in its review of mental health policies and programs in other countries,the goal of fostering recovery was placed at the centre of a recent national mental health report in the United States. In practical terms,one of the attractions of a recovery orientation is that it may help create a framework within which services can be meaningfully measured and evaluated.

The Need for a Recovery-Oriented System

Two models of recovery

Drawing on these two models,the Committee has concluded that a policy approach based on the idea of recovery must acknowledge the following:

  • Each person’s path to recovery is unique;
  • Recovery is a process,not an end point;
  • Recovery is an active process,in which the individual takes responsibility for the outcome,with success depending primarily on collaboration among helping friends,family,the community,and professional supports.

Very broadly,recovery suggests that the goal of mental health policy should be to enable people to live the most satisfying,hopeful,and productive life consistent with the limitations caused by their illness.

Troubled

Recovery is about hope. As we noted earlier,recovery does not necessarily equate with cure. It can mean different things to different people. Very broadly,it suggests that the goal of mental health policy should be to enable people to live the most satisfying,hopeful,and productive life consistent with the limitations caused by their illness. For some,recovery will equate to the reduction or complete remission of symptoms related to mental illness.

In the past …

Recovery allows us to define the role of the system:it is to facilitate the ability of people living with mental illness to deal actively with the limits imposed by their conditions.

Coast Mental Health

Recovery-focused system

Working toward a recovery-focused system is a complex undertaking.  There is always the danger that the idea of recovery will be embraced rhetorically but not translated into policy and action.

A recovery-oriented system must rest upon three pillars:choice,community and integration.

  • Choice:Access to a wide range of publicly funded services and supports that offer people living with mental illness the opportunity to choose those that will benefit them most
  • Community:Making these services and supports available in the communities where people live,and orienting them toward supporting people living in the community;
  • Integration:Integrating all types of services and supports across the many levels of government and across both the public/private divide and the professional/non-professional dichotomy.

Recovery allows us to define the role of the system:it is to facilitate the ability of people living with mental illness to deal actively with the limits imposed by their conditions.