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Implementing Recovery-based Care: Tangible Guidance for SMHAs - page 8 / 44





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NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

Federal Perspective: Recovery, Now!  

By A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., and Ronald W. Manderscheid, Ph.D.

Dr. Power is the director of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and Dr. Manderscheid is chief of the Survey and Analysis Branch within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The introduction of recovery into our national mental health dialogue is nothing short of revolutionary. It is now widely accepted as a key national goal of mental health services, yet just a few short years ago, this was clearly not the case. Our public mental health systems were still dominated by state mental hospitals, and consumers were labeled “the chronically mentally ill” (Manderscheid & Henderson, 2004a).   

Most of this momentous change has occurred in the past five years; virtually all of it within the past ten. It is a product of the development of very effective consumer and family movements in mental health, as well as increased dialogue with the substance abuse field, where a similar concept of recovery has been regarded as essential for quite some time.

What is recovery? It is a process, sometimes lifelong, through which a consumer achieves independence, self-esteem, and a meaningful life in the community. Recovery can be facilitated by particular features of care and the care system; it can also be inhibited by other features. Hence, we can speak of recovery-oriented planning and recovery-oriented services.

We have learned about the potency of recovery from many persons, including key leaders in our field. Wilma Townsend and Glen Hopkins, from Licking and Knox Counties in Ohio, have taught us about the key role of consumer-directed care and personalized care plans in the recovery process. Neal Adams, M.D., from the California Department of Mental Health, is preparing a text on individualized recovery plans. Mary Ellen Copeland, provider and advocate, is developing a curriculum to train states and others in implementing the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). The state of Connecticut has reoriented its entire mental health system toward a recovery model (www.dmhas.state.ct.us/recovery/htm). Jean Campbell, from the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, has eloquently described consumer perception of outcomes (1998).

Ruth Ralph, from the University of Maine, has developed a measurement scale for consumer-perceived recovery as assessed from the point of view of self-agency, self-esteem, and independence. Steve Onken of Columbia University is working with a group of researchers on developing a measures that will reflect the degree to which care is recovery-oriented. In each of these areas, progress has been very rapid. Once these measures are available, they will be implemented through the Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program (MHSIP) Quality Report and the SAMHSA/CMHS Decision Support 2000+ (DS2K+) data standards and information technology system (Manderscheid & Henderson, 2003, 2004b).

NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

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