Recovery is the personal process that people with mental illness go through in gaining control, meaning and purpose in their lives. Recovery involves different things for different people. For some, recovery means the complete absence of the symptoms of mental illness. For others, recovery means living a full life in the community while learning to live with ongoing symptoms.
The goal of many mental health services and treatments is now recovery. This wasn’t always the case. In the past, mental health professionals told people with mental illness and their families that most illnesses got worse over time. People were told to lower their expectations.
People with mental illness challenged these pessimistic assumptions. Researchers began to study how consumers lived their lives over the decades and found that many people did in fact get better. New and more effective medical treatments and social supports developed.
Recovery involves changes in the way individuals with mental illness think, act and feel about themselves and the possibilities in their lives. It also requires changes in the ways services are funded and organized, mental health professionals are trained, and success is measured. Recovery is about transforming the mental health system so that it truly puts the person at the centre.