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The 10 Fundamental Elements of Recovery

10 Fundamental Elements of Recovery

Following is a summary of The National Consensus Statement on Mental Health and Recovery created by an expert panel convened by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The panel worked to define the key elements of recovery in mental health. They are:

  1. Self-direction: Essentially, a person with a mental health condition leads the process of recovery by defining life goals and then designing a unique path toward those goals.
  2. Individualized and person-centered: The pathway to mental health recovery is based on a person’s unique strengths, needs, preferences, experience, and cultural background.
  3. Empowerment: People with a mental health condition have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions that will affect their lives. They also have the ability to join with others to speak as advocates for their needs, wants, and desires. Through empowerment, they control their own destiny.
  4. Holistic: Mental health recovery comprises mind, body, spirit, and community. It encompasses all aspects of a person’s life such as employment, education, mental health, addiction treatment, spirituality, creativity, social network, and family support.
  5. Nonlinear: Mental health recovery is an organic process that is based on growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. The initial stage of recovery is awareness that positive change is possible, and from there, being able to take an active role in the recovery journey.
  6. Strength-based: The mental health recovery journey builds on a person’s strengths and talents, and moves forward through interactions with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.
  7. Peer support: Mutual support plays a key role in recovery. People with mental health conditions can encourage each other, share experiences and provide each other with a sense of belonging and community.
  8. Respect: Acceptance and appreciation of people living with mental health conditions — including protecting their personal rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma. Self-acceptance and self-confidence also are vital.
  9. Responsibility: Individuals have a personal responsibility for self-care, and their recovery journey. Working toward goals can require great courage. Identifying coping strategies and healing processes can promote wellness.
  10. Hope: Recovery is a message of hope and understanding that people do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Peers, friends, and family can help to foster that hope. Hope is what can get the recovery process started.