Mental Health Recovery

Recovery is a journey and overcoming our mental health issues and mental illness is the destination. The path may be dark at times, but Musing Minds will always be there to shine bright and light the way.
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Introduction to Mental Health Recovery

Over the past few years, users of mental health services have progressively used the term `recovery' when speaking about their mental health experiences.

We’ve discussed the biomedical approach versus a psychosocial approach. Instead of embracing the traditional `medical model‘ of mental illness that speaks to an individual’s symptoms and the healthcare professional’s duty to help relieve them via pharmacotherapy, the recovery approach aims to support an individual in their own personal (and sometimes spiritual) development, building their self-esteem and self-identity, and finding a meaningful role in society.

Mental health recovery does not necessitate complete restoration of mental health. It’s not about an individual no longer requiring support from mental health services or pharmacotherapy etc.  Mental health recovery means having coping skills to deal with mental health problems and having appropriate support in place, whether from family, friends, and in the beginning, from healthcare professionals (such as a care coordinator, social worker, counsellor/therapist). As recovery progresses, the individual will be able to be discharged from mental health services back into the care of their GP.

What is Mental Health Recovery?

There is no single agreed definition of mental health recovery; here are some quotes to give some insight:

"Recovery is a process, a way of life, an attitude and a way of approaching the day’s challenges. It is not a perfectly linear process. At times our course is erratic and we falter, slide back, regroup and start again. The need is to meet the challenge of the disability and to re-establish a new and valued sense of integrity and purpose within and beyond the limits of the disability; the aspiration is to live, work and love in a community in which one makes a significant contribution."

- Patricia Deegan PhD, a Clinical Psychologist, 1988

"Recovery is about seeing people and people seeing themselves as capable of recovery rather than passive recipients of professional treatments. It is about working out strategies and taking control of our own lives."

- Piers Allot, NIMHE Fellow for Recovery, University of Wolverhampton, 2006

Factors affecting Mental Health Recovery

Back in the 1950s, individuals believed that recovery from mental illness was impossible. Are such sentiments still present this century? Many do still believe that mental illness has a permanent impact on human lives and this is not true in all cases. Today, we know that most mental illnesses can be either completely healed with their symptoms being almost completely alleviated by means of therapy, both psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy. Recovery is an individual process and is dependent upon many factors.

Internal Factors

Internal factors are those factors within an individual. Such factors include maintaining hope, having a purpose to their life, insight into their condition and determination to overcome their struggles.

External Factors

External factors are those factors outside of an individual. Such factors include maintaining connections with family, friends and healthcare professionals. It is especially important that they are surrounded by individuals who believe that they can recover from their mental illness.

Healing from Mental Illness

Those who have recovered from their mental health disorders have emphasised the importance of discovering themselves. For example, an individual with social anxiety may feel that long before their diagnosis, they experienced an inferiority complex and a lack of approval from others. Many mental health disorders can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, and recovery often only begins when these feelings are understood and resolved.

In the process of healing, important experiences such as having a sense of belonging, acceptance and opportunity must be felt. The idea of support groups is based on this premise, as often times, individuals require support, understanding and encouragement.

Personal Transformation

Overcoming mental illness can lead to radical changes within an individual. Previously, their life may have been consumed with their mental illness, what they couldn’t do, where they couldn’t go and so on. During recovery, individuals may come to a realisation and think, "Was I a victim of my circumstances?”, “Is there more to life than this?”, “How long can I live like this?” and so on. Their recovery leads to their empowerment. They recover their self-identity or create a new one based on who they want to become. A transformation occurs as they understand that they are a valuable human being with so much to offer and so many opportunities that are open to them if only they can overcome their difficulties. Recovery leads one to ask key questions such as “What do I want from life?”, "What makes me happy?" and so on.

Recovery is not a Race!

There is no time course for recovery from mental health issues. Mental health recovery is a journey, a personal journey and the path of every individual is different. Despite the fact that an individual’s state of health may not show signs of recovery in the early stages, it is important to keep striving, keep hoping, keep enacting changes. It’s easy over the long-term to become frustrated with a lack of results, but this isn’t a race, there is no destination. Every achievement should be celebrated and appreciated. Just think a child doesn’t learn their ABC’s overnight. An adult won’t learn all there is about Mathematics in one semester. These are no comparison to mental health issues, but the point is, nothing hard is accomplished within a day, a week, or even a year. Give yourself time, it’s ok to give yourself time!

After Recovery

Even after recovery, you may need to still be treated, whether that be through medication, or by attending psychological therapy. Recovery from mental illness is not the disappearance of symptoms, we are complex human beings, and this would be as mentioned before, a biomedical approach. We also need social and psychological support to remain well and mentally healthy. This is where Musing Minds UK comes in. We are a community to help and encourage you to live a life of happiness and fulfilment.

Browse our Recent Resources

We cater to individuals with a variety of mental health disorders from:

Anxiety & Stress Disorders

Bipolar Disorder

Depressive Disorders

Eating Disorders

Personality Disorders

Psychotic Disorders

Self-Harm & Suicide

Click on the link above that resonates with your experiences to view our recent resources that will allow you to gain awareness and understanding of mental health issues and mental illness and importantly, allow you to find supportive individuals that will aid you in your mental health recovery.

Mental Health Recovery in MusingMinds.UK

The objective of Musing Minds UK is for individuals with mental health issues and mental illness to embark on their personal journey of recovery.

As a holistic mind, body, spirit and life community, we focus on emotional and psychological, physical, spiritual and social aspects of mental health.

Uncover truths about the mind, body, spirit, life connection, aiding your recovery and the discovery of who you truly are.


Mental Health Services

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