Recovery From Mental Illness

What are the characteristics of a person who has Recovered from Mental Illness?

Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD, of the National Empowerment Center, answers this question by articulating seven dimensions of a person's life.  His vantage point as a consumer and as a professional gives power to his words.  He reached this conclusion after much research at the NEC and careful review of the current literature.

A person who is recovered:

  1. Makes their own decisions in collaboration with other supportive people outside the mental health system.
  2. Has a meaningful and fulfilling network of friends outside the mental health professionals.
  3. Has achieved a major social role/identity other than consumer (such as student, parent, worker).
  4. Uses medication as one tool among many freely chosen by the individual to assist in their day-to-day life (used as the chronically normals use medication).
  5. Is capable of expressing and understanding emotions to such a degree that the person can cope with severe emotional distress without it interrupting their social role and without them being labeled symptoms.
  6. Has a Global Assessment of Functional Scale score of greater than 61: "Functioning pretty well, some meaningful interpersonal relationships and 'most untrained people would not consider him sick'".
  7. Retains a sense of self defined by oneself through life experience and interaction with peers.

Check out the National Empowerment Center.

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