September is National Recovery Month, raising awareness about recovery treatment for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse challenges, and celebrating success stories of those who have gone through or are going through recovery.
"We are fortunate that many mental health agencies in our community are now offering person-centered care," said Michelle Williams, the director of mental health services at The Resource Center, which supports Chautauqua County residents with disabilities, including people with behavioral challenges. "We focus on individual recovery, and we believe that recovery is possible for all individuals with disabilities. We have a person-centered recovery focus of care that builds on a person's unique strengths and aspirations."
The recovery approach is used by many substance abuse and mental health organizations as a more effective means of helping people. Recovery is seen as a more personal, more individualized process that can and often does include the concepts of hope, security, identity, relationships, empowerment, coping strategies and purpose.
Hope is an important step because it allows people to believe in themselves, giving them perseverance through the process. Security in home, income and safety is another important part of recovery, as this creates stability for the person involved.
Allowing the person to reestablish a sense of self and identity is another step in the recovery process. This allows the individual to develop on a personal level and discover a sense of self-worth.
Another key aspect of the recovery process is having natural supports for the person, such as friends, family and people in the community. While professionals can support the individual, having non-paid friends and family is essential for the person's progress. The person should also be empowered and allowed to gain control over his or her own life and own choices again. This helps people to become independent, instead of relying on professionals and supports to make decisions for them.
Coping strategies are necessary for the individual to develop, as well. The individual will then be able to identify stressors and potential problems and develop a plan for how to deal with situations that may arise.
One final aspect of the recovery approach is bringing meaning and purpose to the person's life. This can be done through finding a meaningful job or even through religion or culture. This helps the person to develop an identity and sense of worth.
With individuals challenged by mental illness, the recovery approach allows them to stay as in control of their lives as possible. This process is also helpful in these situations because it focuses on the person and not the disorder or the symptoms.
The same goes for substance abusers. This type of recovery process helps them deal with their addictions in a way that is constructive and helps them focus on the future instead of the past. It allows them to develop identity outside of destructive substances, creating a sense of meaning in their lives.
The most important aspects of the recovery approach are forming the program to the individual and allowing the individual to be independent, instead of relying solely on a service provider. These are key parts of a successful recovery.
Many people have gone through this process successfully and now live changed, more independent, more confident lives. National Recovery Month helps people celebrate these success stories, and it helps make those with substance abuse or mental health challenges become aware of the options they have to begin to live life more fully.
To learn more about local resources available to assist people with their recovery, phone 483-2344.