The VISN 3 Mental Health Recovery Transformation is a collaboration between the VISN 3 MIRECC and Mental Health Care Line.
The President’s New Freedom Commission opened with its Vision Statement:
We envision a mental health care system that is person-centered and geared toward recovery. A future when every veteran with a mental illness will recover, a future when mental illnesses can be prevented or cured, a future when everyone with a mental illness at any stage of life has access to effective treatments, healthcare partnerships and natural supports -- all the essentials for living, loving, working, learning, playing, and participating fully in the community.
The Veteran’s Health Administration is committed to implementing the New Freedom Commission recommendations, and creating an environment that fosters recovery among veterans.
What is meant by the term Recovery?
There is no universally accepted definition of recovery or the recovery model. One representative definition is:
Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation for a person with a mental health condition to be able to live a fulfilling and meaningful life in communities of his or her choice while striving towards personal goals.
Recovery is a multi-faceted concept based on these 10 fundamental elements and guiding principles:
- Hope: recovery provides the essential and motivating message that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them.
- Self-direction: veterans lead, control, exercise choice over, and determine their own path of recovery by maximizing autonomy and independence.
- Individualized and Veteran-Centered: there are multiple pathways to recovery based on the individual person’s unique needs, preferences, experiences – including past trauma, and cultural backgrounds in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an on-going journey, an end result as well as an overall philosophy for achieving optimal mental health. Partnerships with others are an important component in moving towards recovery.
- Empowerment: veterans have the authority to exercise choices and make decisions that impact their lives and are educated and supported in so doing.
- Holistic: recovery encompasses the varied aspects of an individual’s life including mind, body, spirit, and community including such factors as housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare services, complementary services, addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation, and family supports as determined by the person.
- Non-Linear: recovery is not a step-by-step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from these experiences. Growth can occur in different areas of one’s life at different times.
- Strengths-Based: recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple strengths, resiliency, coping abilities, inherent worth, and capabilities of individuals.
- Peer Support: the invaluable role of mutual support wherein veterans encourage other veterans in recovery while providing a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles and sense of community is recognized and promoted.
- Respect: community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation of veterans – including the protection of individual rights and the elimination of discrimination and stigma – are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining one’s belief in one’s self is also vital.
- Responsibility: veterans have personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. This involves taking steps towards one’s goals that may require great courage.
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