Some people still don’t believe in mental health recovery!by Susan Moreno on Jun. 05, 2010, under brain disorders, Disability, General Mental Health, Health, mental illness, mental illness research, recovery, schizophrenia, stigma
I am a member of “Linked in.” It’s one of those social networks, but unlike Facebook or My Space, it’s members are mostly focused on business networking. My profile not only includes my involvement in the mental health community, but I also use it as a tool for real estate related information. (that’s what I do in my “other life.”)
An email came in from Linked in today from a “certified mental health recovery educator” asking for input. I signed on to Linked-in and this is what I found…
“If you were interviewing a mental health professional to see if their beliefs are congruent with those of the “Recovery Model” of mental health care, what top 3-5 questions would you ask?
I have a client who wants to locate someone in my area that is recovery-oriented, and I found myself explaining the Recovery Model as I know it today to the very first psychiatrist I called. I don’t have time to talk to everyone like that, so I am trying to narrow my interviews down to just a few questions. Recovery IS possible. People DO recover and can live long and product lives. Yeah peer support and boo institutions, people know what’s best for themselves and all of that. What would your top 3-5 questions be?”
Imagine my shock when I read the first response:
“I suspect you are thinking about Substance Abuse rather than mental illness or psychothopathology. There is no such concept as recovery. Treatment or cure may be possible but not recovery.”
WHAT? I’m not printing his name because I don’t want him to be overwhelmed with angry phone calls, but how can it be that a person who is currently involved in the mental health community hasn’t even heard about mental health recovery? As one responder who is currently living a life in mental health recovery said, ” it’s heartbreaking to read the response……”
I have talked about recovery in previous posts, but I think it needs to be stressed again. Recovery is possible and very real! I have met dozens of people over the last several years who are in mental health recovery……..one girl I remember had been told while in the throes of a particularly intense psychotic episode that she would remain institutionalized all of her life! I am here to say, she is not only living independently, but she has a great job and a happy life! And, her story is NOT unusual!
My family and I recognize people in our community every year that are in recovery with the Daniel Moreno Recovery Award. It is named after my son who died by suicide after being diagnosed with schizophrenia five years prior. Recovery does not come easy, but it is a reality and is probable with the correct medication if needed, support and treatment. The big problem – only half of those with mental illness receive treatment, yet estimates as high as 80% of those that do get proper treatment do recover.
If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for a mental health issue, I suggest the first question you ask the provider is: “Do you believe in mental health recovery?” I wouldn’t want you to work with someone that didn’t.