This post is a part of the Recovery 101 blog series. The series will explore ideas, philosophies, language, tools and questions about mental health recovery. Submit any ideas for topics in the comments section of any tagged post.
Somebody recently send me this link to an LA Times article from last month about a new definition for recovery. While not introducing any new concepts, it is newly agreed upon by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. The definition is thus:
“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
I have to say I kind of like it. It’s open-ended as it doesn’t specify those who suffer from some particular ailment or circumstance, and it’s free of loaded language like “meaningful activity”. It refers to people, not clients/patients.
Here are some other definitions of recovery:
The ability to live well in the presence or absence of mental illness - or whatever the person chooses to term their experience (Mental Health Commission, NZ)
Recovery is the personal process that people with mental illness go through in gaining control, meaning and purpose in their lives... (CMHA Ontario)
The goal of recovery is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we are called to be (Pat Deegan)