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Recovery in mental health is about an individual building a meaning and satisfying life. For many people recovery is about staying in control of their lives despite experiencing mental health issues. Live It Well has some great resources that you can use to help you in your recovery. From information and advice to a unique Recovery Star packed full of resources that are available to you wherever you are living in Kent and Medway

What is Recovery?

Recovery as an idea is difficult to define and describe as it is different for everyone, there are, though, some central ideas that help us understand what we mean by recovery:

  • Finding and maintaining hope. Hope is central to recovery and can be enhanced by each person seeing how they can have more active control over their lives and also by seeing how others have been able to recover.
  • The re-establishment of a positive identity. Recovery is about discovering – or rediscovering – a sense of personal identity, separate from illness or disability.
  • Finding meaning in life. Recovery is closely associated with social inclusion and being able to take on meaningful and satisfying social roles within local communities. Taking responsibility for one’s life is to be encouraged. The processes of self-management is sometimes difficult because what works for each person can be very different. No ‘one size fits all’. Recovery should be a journey in which people are supported in finding their own path.
  • Relatives, Friends, Family and other carers are often crucial to recovery and they should be included as partners wherever possible. However, peer support is also central for many people in their recovery. To find more about carers click here, or if you want to know about peer support click here.

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Recovery is often talked about in two different ways: clinical recovery and personal recovery.

Both types of recovery are important to people experiencing mental health problems, but they have different histories and involve different approaches.

Clinical Recovery is an idea that has emerged from mental health professionals, and involves getting rid of symptoms, restoring social functioning, so in other words enabling a person to function positively in the community and to be healthy and well.

Personal Recovery is an idea that has emerged from the expertise of people with lived experienced of mental illness. It focuses on the process of building a meaningful life as defined by the person themselves.

Recovery emphasises that, while people may not have full control over their symptoms, they can have full control over their lives. Recovery is not about ‘getting rid’ of problems. It is about seeing beyond a person’s mental health needs, and recognising and fostering their abilities, interests and dreams. Mental illness and social attitudes to mental illness often impose limits on people experiencing ill health. Health professionals, friends and families can be overly protective or pessimistic about what someone with a mental health problem will be able to achieve. Recovery is about looking beyond those limits to help people achieve their own goals and aspirations.

There is a strong link between the recovery process and social inclusion. A key area in recovery is to support people to regain their place in the communities where they live and to enable them to take part in mainstream activities and opportunities along with everyone else. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that taking part in social, educational, volunteering and employment opportunities can support the process of individual recovery.

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Recovery Star

This is a tool for people using services to enable them to measure their own recovery progress, with the help of mental health workers or others. The ‘star’ contains ten areas covering the main aspects of people’s lives, including living skills, relationships, work, and identity and self-esteem. Service users set their personal goals within each area and measure over time how far they are progressing towards these goals. This can help them identify their goals and what support they need to reach them, and ensure they are making progress, however gradual, which itself can encourage hope.

Recovery Kent and Medway

(CC) 2008 Mental Health Providers Forum and Triangle Consulting

You can find out more about Recovery Star on the Mental Health Providers Forum website, which you can access by clicking here.

The Recovery Star encourages people to look at ten areas of their lives:

  • managing mental health
  • self care
  • living skills
  • social networks
  • work
  • relationships
  • addictive behaviour
  • responsibilities
  • identity and self esteem
  • trust and hope

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Many people find the Recovery Star a useful and easy to use tool to identify the areas in their lives that are doing well and also areas that need to be looked at as they are not as positive. The Recovery Star can be used as a tool to be worked through with your care coordinator and it’s a great way of identifying goals and ambitions.

The Recovery Star User Guide contains:

  • How to start using the tool
  • Ten step by step ladders for each element of the tool
  • A Star Chart and Star Action Plan to record progress and action plans

The Recovery Star the User Guide, posters and other resources are available to download free by clicking here.

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Other Resources:

The Mental Health Foundation have developed some information on recovery, to see this click here.

Rethink have produced a variety of recovery based resources:

click on the above links to access these resources.

We would love to hear your stories of recovery, or if you have a suggestion as to something else we can add into this page, please contact us by clicking here.

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Live It Well wants to ensure that the best recovery resources and information is available to everyone in Kent and Medway.