Many of us have mental health issues at one point or another in our lives. We may experience problems to do with relationships, drugs and alcohol or sexual abuse. Good mental health is important so, it deserves to be taken seriously.
But while we all have our trials; ongoing mental health issues can be a sign of a mental illness. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders, have a bigger impact on thoughts, feelings and behavior than mental health issues, and can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, mental illnesses can usually be effectively treated or managed.
Most people who are diagnosed with a mental illness recover, but it is difficult to predict when, or to what extent, you are going to get better. Recovery is not the same as a cure. Recovery means being able to create and live a meaningful life and contribute to your community, with or without mental health issues.
Recovery is about all of your life, not just your symptoms. It involves:
- finding hope and developing self-esteem and resilience
- having a sense of purpose and meaning in your life
- building healthy relationships
- gaining independence
The recovery approach to mental illness is about helping you take control of your own life. When you take the recovery approach, you work as a team with your doctor and other health professionals to make joint decisions about how to manage your mental health.
Promoting a recovery approach to mental healthcare is part of our national mental health strategy. There are key questions that can help you ensure that mental health services are helping your recovery:
- Do you feel supported to build on your unique strengths and promote self-responsibility?
- Are you given enough information to make informed choices about care and treatment?
- Are your legal and human rights advised, respected, and promoted?
- Do you feel welcome at the service?
- Does the service proactively involve you in all aspects of care planning and treatment with a recovery focus?
- Are you involved in reviewing your recovery goals?
A mental health recovery plan (also called a wellness recovery action plan) helps you:
- work out what sort of life you want to lead
- work out what you can do to get there
- keep track of changes in your mental health
- identify and manage things that might make your mental state worse
You might decide you want to live on your own, find a part-time job, or reconnect with your family. Together with your mental health team, you can work out how best to get what you want and what help you need along the way.
Many mental health services can help with your recovery. The first step is to see your doctor, who can give you advice and refer you to local services. You can also search for services.
If they have diagnosed you with a mental illness, your doctor can help you get affordable access to other health professionals, such as psychologists.